Dept. of State issues travel alert due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks

Dept. of State issues travel alert due to heightened risk of terrorist attacks

Passersby pause at a memorial for the Christmas market terror attack victims at Breitscheidplatz on January 19, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

As the holiday season approaches, many families are preparing to take advantage of school breaks, federal holidays and remaining paid time off by traveling out of state to see family and friends and desirable international destinations.

But according to the U.S. Department of State, prospective travelers might want to reconsider any plans to journey across the pond.

In a travel advisory issued Thursday, government officials warned citizens of a heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. The advisory urged American travelers who go abroad to be cautious at holiday festivals and events.

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Officials cited two terrorist attacks that occurred in Europe last year -- one in which a man drove a truck into a German Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more, and another in which a gunman shot and killed 39 people during a New Year's celebration in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks,” the advisory reads. “U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations.”

The advisory is in effect until Jan. 31.

Americans traveling abroad can always check the website of the U.S. Embassy or consulate in a destination city for any recent security messages.

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