State Dept. issues 5th travel warning since October

WASHINGTON -- The State Department gave travelers another reason to stay home during the millennium celebrations by issuing its fifth worldwide travel caution since Oct. 5 about the potential for terrorism.

"The U.S. government has credible information that terrorists are planning attacks specifically targeting American citizens during the period of time leading up to and through the beginning of the New Year and Ramadan events and celebrations [from now through early January]," the department said.

"The information indicates that attacks could be planned for locations throughout the world where large gatherings and celebrations will be taking place," it said.

U.S. travelers were advised to "review their security practices," remain alert, exercise caution, avoid large crowds, keep a low profile, vary travel routes and contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date security information.

The department said its announcement "supplements" three similar worldwide cautions issued on Nov. 12 (because the U.N. was imposing sanctions on the Taliban of Afghanistan), Nov. 5 (due to unspecified "reports that prompt concern" about safety of U.S. citizens abroad) and Oct. 5 (because a suspect was facing charges of involvement in the 1996 attack on U.S. forces at Khobar, Saudi Arabia).

Another worldwide caution was published Oct. 21, warning of possible terrorist activity in the Persian Gulf region.

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