Expats and travellers warned about elevated risk of terrorism in Europe

by mfefadmin on January 12, 2015

Following the terrorist attacks in France, various countries have updated their advice on travelling to the country and are urging expats to be especially vigilant.

Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist groups, and recent French military intervention against ISIL, the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.

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Various countries have updated their advice on travelling to France and other European nations

Previous incidents, attributed to Islamist extremists, have included the shooting of three soldiers and four civilians in Toulouse, and a knife attack on a soldier near Paris as well as the most recent attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris and the Jewish supermarket.

There have also been a number of explosions, failed explosions and other attacks in Corsica. Government buildings, restaurants, police vehicles, bars, a discotheque and holiday homes have been targeted. The authorities believe the Corsican nationalist group the FLNC are responsible, and have warned that attacks could escalate.

‘There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time,’ said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office.

The spokesman also pointed out that there are large numbers of illegal migrants in and around Calais, who may seek an opportunity to enter the UK illegally. ‘Although local police patrols have been reinforced, you should keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic and secure your vehicle when it is left unattended,’ he added.

The Foreign Office advice now states: ‘Like other large European countries, the French/German authorities continue to consider that there is a high threat of terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers’.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security related risks.

The US State Department has issued guidance urging Americans to be vigilant when visiting Europe. ‘Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations where US citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays,’ it said.

‘US citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City,’ it points out.

‘Current information suggests that ISIL, al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against US and Western interests in Europe. Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis,’ it says.

‘US citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when travelling,’ the department’s advice adds.

Sweden announced it has raised its threat alert to the highest level ever because of an increased threat of terror attacks.

 

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