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Worldwide Caution US Department of State

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 23, 2004

This Worldwide Caution Public Announcement is being updated to alert U.S. citizens of the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests following the killing of Sheikh Yassin in Gaza. This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated March 19, 2004 and expires on September 23, 2004.

The Department of State is deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad in the aftermath of the recent killing of HAMAS leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza. The Department is also concerned about the potential for demonstrations and violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas as a response to the killing. A HAMAS spokesman has threatened revenge and specifically identified American interests as targets. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

The Department of State remains concerned by indications that al-Qaida continues to prepare to strike U.S. interests abroad. Al-Qaida and its associated organizations have most recently struck in the Middle East and in Europe but other geographic locations could also be venues for attacks. Future al-Qaida attacks could possibly involve non-conventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents as well as conventional weapons of terror. We also cannot rule out that al-Qaida will attempt a catastrophic attack within the U.S.

Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may involve aviation and other transportation and maritime interests, and may also include conventional weapons, such as explosive devices. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time 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. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. 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 U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2 328.

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