US State Department Issues ‘Worldwide Caution’ Alert for Americans

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The agency cited the ‘potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens.’

The U.S. Department of State on Friday issued a “worldwide caution” alert for U.S. citizens to remain alert for possible terrorist attacks or other violent actions against Americans.

In a “security alert” posted on its website, the agency said the warning was sent because of the “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” Americans who are overseas, it added, are encouraged to use “increased caution.”

The Department of State said it is also “aware of the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against” LGBT people, echoing a statement issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security earlier this week that terrorist groups such as ISIS could target “Pride” month-related events in June.

“Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists, including Pride celebrations and venues frequented” by those individuals, the bulletin added. It did not provide any specific details about any alleged or reported terrorist plots.

Late last year, the State Department issued a similar worldwide alert for Americans following the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas-led attack in Israel that triggered the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

About a week ago, the agency issued a statement to U.S. citizens in the Middle East, cautioning them to heed a travel advisory for Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank because of active military operations in the area.

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“Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza,” it said. “Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets [or] shopping malls, and local government facilities.”

The Israel-Hamas conflict has led to a “complex situation” that could have implications for U.S. citizens’ safety, the department said, adding that the Israel Defense Forces currently has control over the Gaza side of Rafah Crossing.

Israel has said that about 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of about 30 more. Military officials and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said that its forces found the bodies of three Israeli hostages killed by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack, including German-Israeli Shani Louk.

Mr. Netanyahu called the deaths “heartbreaking,” saying in a statement, “We will return all of our hostages, both the living and the dead.”

Hamas-led terrorists killed about 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted about 250 others in the Oct. 7 attack. About half of those hostages have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

FBI and DHS Warning

In a separate bulletin, both the FBI and DHS said that groups such as ISIS, or Islamic State, might “seek to exploit increased gatherings associated” with “Pride”-related events. The terrorist threats could come via the mail, in person, or online, the agencies stated without elaborating or providing specific details.

The bulletin noted that June 12 is the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people died. After the incident, pro-ISIS groups “praised this attack as one of the high-profile attacks in Western countries” and “supporters celebrated it,” according to the FBI and DHS.

Both agencies also noted that in February 2023, an ISIS-related message board had included “rhetoric and rallied against the growth and promotion” of LGBT groups.

The two agencies revealed “possible indicators” of what they called “potential threat activity,” which includes “unusual surveillance or interest in buildings, gatherings, or events” as well as “unusual or prolonged testing or probing of security measures at events or venues,” violent threats made online or in person, and photography of security related equipment or personnel.

In April, the FBI announced that it had arrested an 18-year-old Idaho man for allegedly plotting to carry out a terrorist attack targeting local churches. The man, identified in court documents as Alexander Mercurio, is accused of telling an FBI informant about his alleged plans and that he wanted to carry out an attack on April 7, but he was thwarted by officials.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) earlier this week warned that an ISIS-linked human smuggling network was discovered at the U.S.-Mexico border, adding that the FBI told him about ISIS-linked “individuals who are facilitating the passage of migrants across the U.S.–Mexican border into the United States.”

Mr. Cornyn, who was speaking at a congressional hearing, added that he believes that it is only a matter of “when” and not “if” a terrorist attack is carried out on U.S. soil.

Several weeks ago, FBI Director Chris Wray said foreign terrorist groups are again looking to attack the United States in an “increasingly concerning” way, noting that his agency is attempting to prevent an attack on U.S. soil via terrorist groups such as ISIS-K, a regional branch of ISIS mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Foreign terrorists, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their adherents, have renewed calls for attacks against Jewish communities here in the United States and across the West in statements and propaganda,” Mr. Wray said in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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