Tunisia Travel Alert
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance following the February 19 U.S. airstrike targeting a Tunisian terrorist facilitator at a terrorist training camp in Libya near the Tunisian border.
This travel alert expires on March 31, 2016.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in Tunisia when frequenting public venues visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as: hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, and restaurants. Two attacks in 2015 targeted tourists: the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18 and two beach hotels near Sousse on June 26. ISIL claimed responsibility for both attacks. U.S. citizens should also be alert in general to the possibility of kidnapping.
Terrorist organizations have also increasingly targeted Tunisian security forces and government installations. Most recently on November 24, 2015, a suicide bomber struck a bus carrying Tunisian Presidential Guard personnel on Avenue Mohammed V in central Tunis, killing 12 security personnel. ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013. The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
South China Morning Post
US issues travel alert for Laos due to attacks on key highway
The US is warning its citizens to avoid road travel between two of Laos’ most popular tourist attractions due to recent shooting attacks along a key highway, an alert that comes in a year the Southeast Asian nation hosts world leaders at a regional summit.
The travel alert issued on Monday by the US State Department said the embassy has banned American officials from travelling along Road 13, a highway connecting Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng “because of the unpredictable nature of the violence and the lack of official information regarding possible motives or a Lao government response”.
A series of attacks along the highway has killed one person and wounded nine, with the most recent violence occurring on March 1, the alert said.
A separate US warning advised against travel to Xaisomboun province, where two roadside attacks in January killed three people.
The alerts come as Laos plays host this year to meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an event that brings together the leaders of the 10 member nations as well as global leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
State issues travel alert for all of Europe
The State Department has issued a travel alert for all of Europe following Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels, warning that "terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe."
The alert also warned tourists to "exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events."
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the coordinated attacks, which left 31 people dead.
The warning comes as the Transportation Security Administration ramps up security at major U.S. airports in response to the attacks.
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Credible Threats to Public Squares and Docks in Istanbul and Antalya
April 9, 2016
The U.S. Mission in Turkey would like to inform U.S. citizens that there are credible threats to tourist areas, in particular to public squares and docks in Istanbul and Antalya. Please exercise extreme caution if you are in the vicinity of such areas. For your personal safety, we urge you to monitor local media.
U.S. embassy warns citizens in Turkey about 'credible' terrorist threats
The United States warned U.S. citizens in Turkey on Tuesday about "credible" terrorist threats to tourist areas in the country.
Turkey has been hit by four suicide bombings already this year, most recently in Istanbul last month. Two of the bombings have been blamed on Islamic State, while Kurdish militants have claimed responsibility for the other two.
"The U.S. government continues to receive credible indications that terrorist groups are seeking opportunities to attack popular tourist destinations throughout Turkey," the embassy in Ankara said in a statement emailed to U.S. citizens.
"Foreign tourists in Turkey have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organizations," the U.S. embassy said in what it described as an "emergency message".
US citizens warned about T&T’s crime wave
THE US State Department on Sunday updated its travel advisory for Trinidad and Tobago, warnings its citizens about the deteriorating crime situation on the islands, particularly in and around Port of Spain. The following is the statement issued -
When visiting or residing in Trinidad and Tobago, you should avoid large crowds and demonstrations. While non-violent demonstrations occur on occasion, widespread civil disorder is not typical. You should also exercise caution when visiting or residing in Port of Spain, especially in crowded urban areas.
CRIME: Violent crime remains high on both islands and affects local and expatriate communities as well as tourists. You should exercise caution and good judgment. Be particularly cautious when traveling after dark from Trinidad’s Piarco Airport as incidents have been reported in the past involving armed robbers trailing arriving passengers from the airport and accosting them in remote areas of the airport parking lot, on the highway leading from the airport to downtown Port of Spain, and outside the gates of residences. Areas in the Port of Spain metro area to avoid include Laventille, Morvant, Sea Lots, Beetham, the interior of the Queen’s Park Savannah, South Belmont, and Cocorite. Visitors should avoid the following areas after dark: scenic rest stops and public parks including Fort George, downtown Port of Spain, the interior and perimeter of Queen’s Park Savanah, and all beaches. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to pick-pocketing and armed assaults in these locations. Holiday periods, especially Christmas and Carnival, often see an increase in criminal activity.
Violent crimes, including assault, kidnapping for ransom, sexual assault, and murder have involved expatriate residents and tourists, including U.S. citizens. The perpetrators of many of these crimes have not been arrested. It is highly recommended that female visitors and residents avoid traveling alone, particularly at night or in secluded areas. ...
In Tobago, violent crime is an issue, including attacks on expatriate residents and tourists in their residences, many of which involve the use of machetes. There have been reports of home invasions in the Mt. Irvine/Buccoo Bay, and Bacolet areas, and robberies occurring at the waterfalls and on isolated beaches in Tobago where visitors are not in a group. If you rent a villa or private home, the Embassy urges you to ensure adequate, 24-hour security measures are in place. Visitors residing at these facilities have encountered intruders in the middle of the night who entered their rented, private residences with copied sets of the actual keys.
American targeted by kidnappers in Kabul: Officials
An American citizen was the target of an attempted kidnap in the Afghan capital, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said Thursday.
The embassy said the attempted kidnap took place on Monday and targeted “several expatriates,” including an American.
“There are no further details regarding the targets, timing, or method of any planned kidnappings,” the embassy said, warning U.S. citizens that the threat of kidnapping and hostage-taking remains “very high.”
There was no immediate comment from Afghan officials.
The revelation comes about a week after armed men claiming to be Afghan intelligence agents snatched an aid worker in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
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Well, is Donnie going to negotiate w/the Taliban to hold hostages until after he's elected, a lá Reagan?
"It is wrong to say God made rich and poor; He only made male and female, and He gave them the Earth as their inheritance."- Thomas Paine, Forward to Agrarian Justice
Cancer broke me
Euro 2016 venues are possible terror targets, US government warns American travellers
The US government is warning Americans travelling to France this summer that stadiums hosting matches in the Euro 16 soccer tournament as well as other affiliated venues likely to draw large numbers of fans could be vulnerable to becoming terrorist targets.
Concern about the potential for terror strikes aimed at the European Soccer Championships, which is set to run 10 June-10 July, was highlighted in a new, Europe-wide US travel advisory issued by the US State Department on Tuesday. It included venues where large numbers might gather to watch the games on jumbo screens, for instance in outdoor squares or parks, among the sites at risk.
“We are alerting US citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centres and transportation,” the advisory said. It stops short, however, of telling travellers to stay away from areas of potential risk but recommends they “exercise vigilance“, monitor local media and lay down plans to stay in touch with family in case of an emergency.
It also singled out the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day festival set for Krakow, Poland, for five days starting 25 July as an event likely to a trigger unusual levels of security vigilance and associated complications for travellers. The advisory will remain in effect until 31 August.
Philippine police detonate bomb near U.S. Embassy
Police in the Philippines detonated a bomb that was discovered near the U.S. Embassy in the capital Manila on Monday.
Ronald dela Rosa, the national police chief, told reporters the incident was “an attempted act of terrorism.”
Police said the improvised bomb, made from an 81-mm mortar round, a cellphone, a blasting cap and a small battery, could have been powerful enough to kill people within 110 yards, the Associated Press reported. ...
Molly Koscina, the press attaché for the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, told CNN that a municipal employee discovered the bomb.
"(He) reported the discovery of a device to U.S. Embassy guards, who immediately contacted the police. We are thankful that the municipal employee and the (police) took quick and appropriate action to ensure the safety of all,” she said, according to the broadcaster.
State Department warns U.S. citizens against remaining in Venezuela
The Obama administration is advising U.S. citizens in Venezuela against remaining in the country warning that they’re responsible for getting out should conditions on the ground worsen.
“Travel Warning: If security climate worsens, US citizens should note they're responsible for arranging their own travel out of #Venezuela,” the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council advised in a tweet Thursday night.
Posting photos of protests and street fires, the State Department also warned U.S citizens against traveling to Venezuela because of increasing violent crime and social unrest. ...
In a new travel advisory, the State Department warned Thursday that the political situation is unpredictable and violent crime is endemic. Venezuelan security forces have arrested or detained U.S. citizens with little or no evidence of a crime. ...
“Due to shortages of some food and medical supplies, U.S. citizens should be prepared to cover their own needs while in country,” the state department said. “In the event that the security climate worsens, U.S. citizens should be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Venezuela.”
Gunman shoots, wounds US consular official in Mexico
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors said Saturday they are searching for a gunman who opened fire on an official of the U.S. consulate in the western city of Guadalajara.
The Attorney General's Office said Saturday the official was wounded in the attack Friday in Guadalajara. The city is the capital of Jalisco state, which is dominated by the hyper-violent Jalisco New Generation cartel. There was no immediate evidence of any cartel link to the attack. ...
In the video, the attacker doesn't appear to try to approach the official while he is walking, but instead waits for him to exit the parking garage in his vehicle and fires a round into the car's windshield. ...
Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city and is not specifically singled out for any special precautions in the latest U.S. travel warning updated on Dec. 8. ...
The Attorney General's Office said the victim was in "stable" condition and under protection, apparently at a local hospital. The office said the case was being handled by federal detectives. An attack on diplomatic personnel would be considered a federal crime in Mexico.
Man charged with shooting U.S. diplomat in Mexico
An American who allegedly shot and wounded a U.S. diplomat in Mexico has been charged in federal court in Virginia.
Zia Zafar, 31, of Chino Hills, Calif., was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on a charge of attempted murder of an internationally protected person. ...
Authorities did not offer any possible motive in the shooting, and it was unclear if Zafar and Ashcraft were known to each other.
The bald, slim suspect said little at a brief hearing, telling a judge only that he understood the charge against him and could not afford a lawyer. He will be jailed until Friday, when prosecutors will argue for prolonged detention. ...
Mexican officials said Zafar arrived in Guadalajara from Phoenix in late November. A spokesman at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara has said Zafar was enrolled there. ...
According to the friend, the assailant reportedly asked for Ashcraft by name at the gym’s reception area.
U.S. issues travel alert for Europe, citing threat of terrorist attacks
The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent.
In the alert, the State Department cited recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and said Islamic State and al Qaeda "have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe."
The State Department's previous travel alert for Europe, issued ahead of the winter holiday season, expired in February. A State Department official said Monday's alert was not prompted by a specific threat, but rather recognition of the continuing risk of attacks especially ahead of the summer holidays. The alert expires on Sept. 1.
Malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, airports and other locations are all possible targets for attacks, the State Department's alert said.
News 4 Security
Official: 9 local guards at US Embassy in Kabul killed, 11 Americans injured in bombing
WASHINGTON — Nine Afghan guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were killed and 11 American contractors wounded in the massive suicide truck bomb attack that rocked the diplomatic quarter in Afghan capital on Wednesday, the State Department said. One other Afghan guard was reported missing.
None of the wounded Americans appears to have life-threatening injuries as a result of the attack in which Afghan officials say at least 90 people were killed and 400 were wounded. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the attack, offering condolences to the families and friends of the victims and prayers for recovery of those wounded.
“In the face of this senseless and cowardly act, the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering; the United States stands with the government and the people of Afghanistan and will continue to support their efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity for their country,” Tillerson said in a statement. President Trump spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the aftermath of the attack, which CBS News correspondent Debora Patta reports was one of the worst attacks Kabul has seen since the drawdown of foreign forces at the end of 2014. ...
The explosion occurred at the peak of Kabul’s rush hour when roads are packed with worktime commuters, Patta reports. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned American citizens to avoid the area of the blast and cancelled all its appointments for routine American Citizen Services for the day. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during today’s press briefing that the U.S. Embassy will provide assistance and bring perpetrators to justice.
U.S. Orders Family Members of Caracas Embassy Staff to Leave Venezuela
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered family members of U.S. government employees at the American embassy in Caracas to leave Venezuela ahead of a weekend vote that has sparked violent protests.
The department said in a statement it also authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees at the Caracas embassy.
That doesn't sound good, or surprising. I keep expecting Venezuela to erupt just any time now. You'd think the current gov't would have seen the writing on the wall and gotten out while they could with their skins intact, at this point it becomes much less likely as the frustration and rage escalates. Regime over throws in SA usually don't go smoothly or well for the overthrowees. Considering the current rising temper I would not say well at all.
The fact that you sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the “Law of Gravity” is unconstitutional and a violation of your sovereign rights, does not absolve you of adherence to it.
U.S. to slash embassy staff in Cuba, warns travelers of hotel attacks
The United States is yanking more than half its diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Havana and warning Americans not to visit Cuba, saying it is for their own safety after a string of mysterious injuries harmed at least 21 Americans stationed there.
Senior State Department officials said embassy employees have been “targeted” for “specific attacks,” a significant change from previous characterizations of what happened as simply “incidents.”
Some of the diplomats were injured in at least one hotel in the Cuban capital, the Capri near the embassy. Employees temporarily deployed to the mission were staying there. The officials said they know of no other guests or hotel employees who were affected, but concern that others might be hurt prompted them to issue a broader warning advising against travel to Cuba.
“We have no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected, but the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement. “The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure.” ...
The withdrawal order applies to all nonessential staff and their families. Only “emergency personnel” will stay. The skeletal staff is being kept to assist U.S. citizens in Cuba who have pressing issues, but more routine diplomatic and consular functions will likely be slowed.