The US state department, citing “credible information” regarding potential “terrorist actions and violence” against US citizens and US interests, has sounded the alarm for its countrymen worldwide just days after a deadly attack in Kenya.
The department cautioned Americans to “maintain a high level of vigilance,” warning that international terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda could be planning attacks.
Essentially any place in the world – the statement specifically mentions Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East – where people may gather in large numbers is a potential lightning rod for acts of terror.
Potential targets include “residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where US citizens gather in large numbers,” the statement warned.
Attacks may include assassinations, suicide operations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings, it said.
US government compounds were also included on the list of places at risk of an attack.
The State Department also reminded Americans of past attacks on public transport systems in Moscow, London and New York.
The renewed warning from US authorities comes just days after a dramatic siege by Islamic militants in an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that resulted in 72 deaths, including 61 civilians, six Kenyan soldiers and five assailants. The attackers took hostages and engaged in gun battles for three days with Kenyan security forces. Over 200 people were reportedly wounded in the event.
The Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the incident, which it said was retribution for the Kenyan military being activated in Somalia.
More broadly, the department also cited “credible information” to indicate terrorist groups sought to attack US interests in Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
It also mentioned hotspot regions of Egypt, Syria and Tunisia, which may also pose a risk to Americans there, the statement warned.