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Released: February 19, 2013 - Worldwide Caution
 
U.S. Department of State

1.  The Department of State has issued this Worldwide
Caution to update information on the continuing threat
of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens
and interests throughout the world.  U.S. citizens are
reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to
take appropriate steps to increase their security
awareness.  This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated
July 18, 2012, to provide updated information on
security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

2.  The Department of State remains concerned about the
continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations,
and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and
interests overseas.  Current information suggests that
al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other
terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist
attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions,
including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics
including suicide operations, assassinations,
kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.

3.  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, and other tourist
destinations both in the United States and abroad where
U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during
holidays.

4.  U.S. 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.

5.  EUROPE:  Current information suggests that al-Qaida,
its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups
continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and
Western interests in Europe.  Additionally, there is a
continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons
planning attacks inspired by major terrorist
organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  On
February 1, 2013, an individual detonated a bomb at a
side entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing one
Embassy guard and injuring others.  The Revolutionary
People's Liberation Party/Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus
Partisi/Cephesi or DHKP/C) claimed responsibility for
the attack on its website.  The DHKP/C has stated its
intention to commit further attacks against the United
States, NATO, and Turkey.  European governments have
taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and
some have made official declarations regarding
heightened threat conditions.  In the past several
years, attacks have been planned or carried out in
various European countries.  On February 5, the
Bulgarian government announced its judgment that
Hizbollah was responsible for a July 2012 terrorist
attack in Burgas which resulted in the deaths of five
tourists and a bus driver.

6.  MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA:  Credible information
indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks
against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North
Africa.  The U.S. government remains highly concerned
about possible attacks against U.S. citizens,
facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western
interests.  Terrorist organizations continue to be
active in Yemen, including al-Qaida in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP).     Security threat levels remain high
in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.
In September 2012, a mob of Yemeni protestors attacked
the U.S. Embassy compound.  U.S. citizens have also been
the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in
the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-
Western terrorist activity continues to exist there.
There are a number of extremist groups operating in
Lebanon, including Hizballah, a group designated by the
U.S. government as a terrorist organization.  Iraq
remains dangerous and unpredictable.  U.S. military
forces departed as of December 31, 2011, but the threat
of attacks against U.S. citizens, including kidnapping
and terrorist violence, continues.  In Algeria, Al-Qaida
in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active and
operates throughout the country.  Terrorists
sporadically attack westerners and Algerian targets,
particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria's
borders with Libya and Mali.  In January, terrorists
attacked a natural gas facility at In Amenas resulting
in the deaths of dozens, including three U.S. citizens.
Terrorists have also targeted oil processing plants in
Saudi Arabia and Yemen.   Some elements in Iran remain
hostile to the United States.  U.S. citizens should
remain cautious and be aware that there may be a more
aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist
activity against U.S citizens.   No part of Syria should
be considered immune from violence, and the potential
exists throughout the country for unpredictable and
hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults,
large and small-scale bombings, as well as arbitrary
arrest, detention, and torture. The conflict in Syria
has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths with many
thousands wounded and over one million displaced
persons.

7.  In September 2012, civil unrest, large scale
protests and demonstrations as well as violent attacks -
some of which were in reaction to an anti-Islamic video
and cartoons - targeted U.S. missions and schools
overseas including in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, and
Yemen.  U.S. citizens are warned that demonstrations
intended to be peaceful can escalate into violent
clashes.  U.S. citizens are also reminded that
demonstrations and riots can occur with little or no
warning.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of
demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if
within the vicinity of a demonstration.

8.  AFRICA:  A number of al-Qaida operatives and other
extremists are believed to be operating in and around
Africa.  In February 2012, the emir of U.S-designated
Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab and al-Qaida's
leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the alliance of the
two organizations.  Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide
bombings, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-
populated areas are frequent in Somalia.  Terrorist
operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated
their intent to attack Somali authorities, African Union
Missions in Somalia and non-military targets.
Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Lands
of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention
to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area
that stretches across the African continent between the
Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali,
Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea).  It has
claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted
kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners
throughout the region, including southern Algeria.  The
loosely organized group of factions known as Boko Haram
continues to carry out significant improvised explosive
device and suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, mainly
targeting government forces and innocent civilians;
attacks have increased since their attack on the UN
building in the capital of Abuja last year.  The
president of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in
certain areas in response to activities of extremist
groups.  AQIM and related extremist groups have
threatened to attack and kidnap Westerners in Mali and
the region in response to the U.S.-supported French
intervention in Northern and Central Mali, where the
political conditions remain fluid, and the Malian
government has yet to reassert control over its northern
provinces.

9.  U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the
Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should
exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed
attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by
pirates.  Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in
Somali territorial waters, while others have been
hijacked as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of
Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.

10.  U.S. government maritime authorities advise
mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at
least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.  In
addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or
in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels
travel in convoys and maintain good communications at
all times.  U.S. citizens traveling on commercial
passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or
cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be
taken to avoid hijacking incidents.  Commercial vessels
should review the Department of Transportation Maritime
Administration's Horn of Africa Piracy page for
information on maritime advisories, self-protection
measures, and naval forces in the region.  Review our
International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet for information
on piracy in the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and
the Indian Ocean.

11.  SOUTH ASIA:  The U.S. government continues to
receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia
may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly
against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or
U.S. interests.  The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban
elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba, indigenous sectarian groups,
and other terror organizations, many of which are on the
U.S. government's list of Foreign Terror Organizations
(FTOs), poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the
region.  Terrorists and their sympathizers have
demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack
targets where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to
congregate or visit.  Their actions may include, but are
not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks,
improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations,
carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.

12.  Such attacks have occurred in a number of South
Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of
extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other
Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government
and military/law enforcement personnel.  Suicide bombing
attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a
regular basis, often targeting government authorities
such as police checkpoints and military installations,
as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping
areas.  Kidnappings of U.S. citizens are also on the
increase.  No part of Afghanistan should be considered
immune from violence, and the potential exists
throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted
or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at
any time.  Elements of the Taliban and the al-Qaida
terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military
operations, remain active.  There is an ongoing threat
of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens and
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout
the country.  India has experienced terrorist and
insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens
directly or indirectly.  Anti-Western terrorist groups,
some on the U.S. government's list of designated Foreign
Terrorist Organizations, have been active in India,
including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-
Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen,
Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e
Tayyiba.  Terrorists have targeted public places in
India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and
other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas,
mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.

13. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries
experienced civil unrest, large scale protests and
demonstrations following the release of anti-Islamic
videos and cartoons in September 2012.

14.  CENTRAL ASIA:  Supporters of terrorist groups such
as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the
Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic
Movement remain active in Central Asia.  These groups
have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to
target U.S. government interests.

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Before You Go
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15.  The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens
living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll
in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When
you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with
important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling
will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you
in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to
keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is
particularly important when you enroll or update your
information to include a current phone number and e-mail
address.

16.  U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a
high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and
take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal
security.  For additional information, please refer to
"A Safe Trip Abroad" on our website,
http://travel.state.gov/.
17.  U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a
heightened state of alert.  These facilities may
temporarily close or periodically suspend public
services to assess their security posture.  In those
instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every
effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news
and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate.

18.  As the Department of State continues to develop
information on potential security threats to U.S.
citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information
through its Consular Information Program documents,
including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country
Specific Information, and Emergency Messages, all of
which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs
website at http://travel.state.gov.  Stay up to date by
bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart
Traveler iPhone or Android App for travel information at
your fingertips.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of
Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

19.  In addition to information on the internet,
travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security
conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the
United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a
regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are
available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday,
Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

20.  Minimize considered.
KERRY