American travellers have been advised to avoid large crowds anywhere in the world because of the risk of terrorist attacks by Islamic State jihadists.
A US State Department worldwide travel alert issued yesterday said: “Current information suggests that Isis, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.
“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”
US citizens were urged to exercise vigilance “when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.”
It added: “Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of Isis return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organisations but conducted on an individual basis.
“Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.
“In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. Isil/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.”
The alert could have a severe impact on Europe’s tourism industry.
A separate statement released yesterday by the US Department of Homeland Security said it had “no credible and specific intelligence indicating a Paris-like plot on the US homeland”.
Meanwhile, the head of the British Airline Pilots Association described pilots as an untapped resource of expertise and experience in the fight against terror and the other major threats to the safety of passengers, aircraft and crew.
The union’s general secretary, Jim McAuslan, said: “Pilots have a key role to play in helping understand, evaluate and challenge the assessment of security risks.
“With millions of hours flying experience and first hand and up to date knowledge of the world’s airports, pilots have a unique vantage that should be harnessed to keep passengers and crew safe.
“Terrorism is a risk that must be tackled and planes, passengers and crew must not be left in the firing line. Pilots want to be engaged in discussions about security at both airline and governmental level. They need timely and accurate information about security threats and a robust system for reporting their own security concerns.
“Pilots are on the front line of global travel. Let’s use their experience to make them the eyes and ears of decision makers.
“Pilots believe it is crucial to tackle other serious risks alongside current security threats. Evidence tells us the next major accident is just as likely to be caused by an inexperienced crew, flying on a temporary contract and suffering fatigue after a disrupted day. We need to ensure that’s not the case through tight regulation and tough enforcement of those rules.
“All pilots take their responsibility for the safety of their passengers extremely seriously and want to be engaged in discussions to keep aviation safe. Their experience and expertise could and should be used to help create long-term solutions aimed at keeping passengers and crews safe.”
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