US issues travel warnings for Jordan, Egypt

#IslamicState

United States warns citizens against threats in Jordan, Egypt after recent militant attacks

US State Department says it issues travel warnings when it wants citizens to consider 'very carefully' whether they should go to country (Reuters)
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Saturday 24 December 2016 1:03 UTC
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The US State Department on Friday warned Americans traveling to Jordan and Egypt of threats from militant groups after several recent attacks in both countries.

More than a dozen people were killed, including a Canadian tourist, in two attacks by militants this week in the southern Jordanian city of Karak.

"The Department of State reminds US citizens that terrorist and extremist organizations have expressed a desire to conduct attacks targeting US citizens and Westerners in Jordan," the travel warning said.

As for Egypt, the department noted that several bombings had occurred this month, including a Coptic cathedral attack that killed at least 25 people.

It added that while Egypt has a heavy security presence at major tourist sites, including Luxor and Aswan, "terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country".

It said Americans should avoid travel to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula outside the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Both Amman and Cairo are allies of Washington that have taken part in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition.

"We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all," the department's guidelines read. "Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks."

Some travel warnings have been in effect for years.

On 13 December, the US also issued a travel warning for Algeria advising citizens not to go to the southern and eastern parts of the country, where it said "terrorist groups remain active".

Meanwhile, US authorities also cautioned local law enforcement on Friday to be aware that supporters of Islamic State have been calling for their sympathizers to attack holiday gatherings in the United States, including churches, CNN reported.

The warning, issued in a bulletin to local law enforcement, said there were no known specific, credible threats, CNN said.

The notice from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security was issued out of an abundance of caution after a publicly available list of US churches was published on pro-Islamic State websites, CNN said.