State Department Issues Travel Alert Over Potential Al-Qaeda Attack

The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert that Al-Qaeda is planning an attack in the Middle East or North Africa in the month of August.

The press release, which has not yet appeared on the State Department website [Update: Here’s the alert] but is reprinted by Business Insider in full, warns,

“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August. This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013.”It adds, “We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens Traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.”

CNN is reporting that some U.S. embassies in the region, including those in Egypt and Israel, will close starting on Sunday for an unspecified length of time.

As of this writing, there is no detail about the nature of the threat.

Update: August 5, 10:07 a.m.
Nineteen U.S. diplomatic posts have also been closed, at least through this week.

Luxury hotels in U.K., U.S. warned of ‘Mumbai-style’ terror threat

Authorities are warning luxury hotels to be on the watch after new intelligence obtained reveals that Al Qaeda was planning a “Mumbai-style” attack on luxury hotels, specifically The Ritz-Carlton, in London.

The information was obtained after authorities found materials at a checkpoint in Mogadishu where Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the Al Qaeda operative who masterminded the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, was killed Saturday, reported Fox News.

According to The Sun, The Dorchester on Park Lane and Eton College were also on the handwritten list.

The three days of Mumbai attacks in 2008 killed 174 people and wounded more than 300.

The FBI briefed hotel leaders in New York yesterday and has planned a similar briefing for today in Washington as well as others in major U.S. cities.

Fox reports that the latest intelligence was believed to have been found on a thumb drive at the scene of his death.

Of course, travelers are urged to take basic precautions. Read a recent Gadling article that discusses a similar topic.