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WORLDWIDE CAUTION January 25, 2012
 

SUBJECT: WORLDWIDE CAUTION

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 26, 2011, 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 several
years, 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.  European governments have
taken action to guard against terrorist attack, and some
have spoken publicly about the heightened threat
conditions.  In the past several years, attacks have
been planned or occurred in various European cities.

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.  For example, Iraq remains dangerous and
unpredictable.  U.S. military forces have withdrawn as
of December 31, 2011 but the threat of attacks against
U.S. citizens, including kidnapping and terrorist
violence, is expected to continue.  Methods of attack
have included roadside improvised explosive devices,
mortars, and shootings.  Security threat levels remain
high in Yemen due to terrorist activities there.  The
U.S. Embassy has had to close several times in response
to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP).  U.S. citizens as well as other Westerners have
been targeted for attack in Yemen.  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.  In Algeria, terrorist attacks occur
regularly, particularly in the Kabylie region of the
country.  In the past, terrorists have targeted oil
processing facilities in both 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.

7.  The events of last year's Arab Spring, which
affected many countries in the Middle East including
Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, have resulted
in civil unrest and large-scale protests and
demonstrations.  U.S. citizens are warned that
demonstrations intended to be peaceful can escalate into
violent clashes.  U.S. citizens are 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.  Since the July 11, 2010 terrorist bombings in
Kampala, Uganda, for which the Somalia-based, U.S.-
designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab has
claimed responsibility, there have been increased
threats against public areas across East Africa.  The
terrorist attacks of October 2011 against the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union
(AU) peacekeeping forces in Somalia, as well as the
grenade attacks against a nightclub and bus stop in
downtown Nairobi, Kenya, highlight the vulnerabilities
to terrorist attacks in East Africa and around the
world.  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
(which includes Mali, Mauritania, and Niger).  It has
claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted
kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners
throughout the region, including southern Algeria. In
Nigeria, a group known as Boko Haram claimed
responsibility for an August 26, 2011, suicide bombing
attack on the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja that
killed 25 people and wounded more than 120.

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 has been a notable
increase in 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.  The 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 suggested piracy countermeasures for
vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

11.  SOUTH ASIA:  The U.S. government continues to
receive information that terrorist groups in South and
Central 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
and its affiliates [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.  In Afghanistan, remnants of the former
Taliban regime and the al-Qaida terrorist network, as
well as other groups hostile to International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF)/NATO 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.
There is an increased threat of terrorism in India.
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.  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 are active in the Central Asian region.
Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S.
sentiments and attacked U.S. government interests in the
past.  Previous terrorist attacks conducted in Central
Asia have involved improvised explosive devices, suicide
bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.

14.  EAST ASIA: Regional and international terrorist
organizations remain active in the region and have
attacked U.S. interests in the past.

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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 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.
CLINTON