The United States issued a worldwide warning that Al-Qaeda was plotting strikes in many regions, and urging its nationals to maintain a “high level of vigilance.”
The State Department anticipates “enhanced potential for anti-American violence given the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011,” said the statement, which replaced an earlier caution version issued January 31.
“Current information suggests that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US 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,” the statement warned.
Likely targets included “high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants” as well as places of worship and schools.
As such Americans “are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” the State Department said.
In addition, “credible information” suggests US interests are being targeted in the Middle East and North Africa, the statement warned.
“Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities there,” the statement added, noting Libya also remained “volatile and dangerous and the threat of violent military and terrorist operations remains high, even in opposition-controlled areas.”
The State Department also warned against sea travel in the Horn of Africa or the southern Red Sea due to “a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.”
Despite what the State Department painted as significant risks in multiple regions, the new US defence chief Leon Panetta said earlier this month that the “strategic defeat” of Al-Qaeda is “within reach,” on a visit to Afghanistan.