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Americans traveling in Europe during the holidays should be cautious, State Department alert says

Americans traveling in Europe during the holidays should be cautious, State Department alert says
The State Department is telling travelers to be alert to potential terrorist attacks in Europe over the holiday season. (Getty Images)

The State Department is telling American travelers headed to Europe to “exercise caution at holiday festivals and events” because of the risk of terrorist attacks.

The renewed alert cites past incidents in France, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain and Finland carried out the by Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other terror groups, according to the State Department’s website.

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Tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets and shopping malls as well as hotels, restaurants, etc., are all potential soft targets, the alert said.

It was issued Nov. 16 and remains in effect through Jan. 31.

The State Department issues travel alerts for ”short-term events” that Americans may want to consider when planning their trips. Travel warnings are more serious, recommending that U.S. travelers seriously consider whether they should visit a particular country at all.

The State Department offers these tips for travelers heading to Europe (or really anywhere outside the country):

—Stay on top of news about what’s happening at your destination.

—Be prepared to face additional screening at security checkpoints during the holiday season.

—Make sure family members know how to reach you, and craft an emergency plan of action.

—Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, to receive security messages from the State Department, which may make it easier to get help in an emergency.

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