DENVER (CBS4) – A warning for U.S. embassies now extends to American travelers, including those at Denver International Airport.
The State Department says al Qaeda and its associates and planning an attack that could happen by the end of the month. It has not released any additional information.
The last time it happened was right before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. The State Department is saying that those thinking about boarding a plane and the destination is the Middle East or North Africa should consider canceling that trip.
The warning isn’t specific, but it is clear — American citizens traveling abroad are high targets for terrorism. Analysts say Yemen is the most likely place but say it could occur or come from anywhere in the Arabian Peninsula.
“I think it suggests that there is some actionable, serious intelligence that’s been obtained in recent weeks,” University of Denver Professor Nader Hashemi said.
Hashemi is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at DU. He offered advice to would-be travelers.
“It’s best first and foremost to not travel there. If you do have to travel there for family reasons, personal reasons or business related matters, you should try and keep a very low profile,” he said.
The alert says an attack could involve public transportation systems — subway, rail networks, airplanes or boats. It’s the same threat that caused the State Department to close 21 embassies and consulates this weekend.
Hashemi says people should be safe if they’re traveling outside of the threat area. He also says the warning, while serious, should be kept in perspective.
“I think we shouldn’t also exaggerate the threat that al Qaeda poses. These are small, rogue elements. The organization has been decimated, and so that’s something to be happy about, but at the same time we still have to be cautious, still have to be vigilant.
The warning extends throughout the month of August. For those who are going to the area, the State Department recommends they register their travel plans through the State Department’s website.