Call it the new normal. While it’s no longer surprising, it is nonetheless important to note that the U.S. State Department this afternoon issued a new travel warning for Europe, citing the potential for terrorist attacks in public places this summer.
“We are alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation,” the department said in an alert posted Tuesday.
The travel alert expires on August 31, 2016, and specifically focuses on the risk for terror attacks as large crowds of tourists flock to Europe during the summer for several events. The warning specifically cited the European Soccer Championship in France, which is scheduled for June 10 through July 10 and will involve 24 national teams.
The French government has already extended a state of emergency first imposed following the coordinated Paris terror attacks last November.“Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones, and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France and across Europe represent potential targets for terrorists, as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe,” the State Department said. “France has extended its state of emergency through July 26 to cover the period of the soccer championship, as well as the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2- 24.” The alert also mentioned the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and 31, which is expected to draw as many as 2.5 million tourists.
“U.S. citizens should be aware that local infrastructure may be strained due to the large number of visitors,” the department warned. “Poland will impose border controls at all of its national borders from July 4 to August 2, and visitors to Poland during this period should be prepared to show their passport and undergo stricter security screening throughout Poland. ”
The agency encouraged U.S. citizens to “exercise vigilance” in public places and when taking modes of mass transportation, avoid crowded places, monitor media, and be prepared for increased security screening.
“Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency,” the State Department said.
Check out the State Department’s complete posting for more information — especially if you or one of your loved ones are headed to Europe this summer.
Of course, travel alerts had previously been issued in the wake of the Paris attacks last November that killed 130 and the subsequent Brussels attacks in March that killed 35, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. These attacks hit restaurants, a concert hall, and a major stadium, as well as transportation infrastructure that included a subway station and international airpot.
We’ve reported previously on apparent terrorist plans to attack European beaches this summer as well.
This all against a backdrop of massive Muslim migration to Europe from ISIS hotbeds such as Syria, which has overwhelmed the system and has already proven a source of at least some of the perpetrators of the deadly attacks in the past six months.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]