On nine separate occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding threats to the U.S., attacks overseas and warnings from the U.S. government.
Starting on Tuesday AlertsUSA subscribers were informed of a suicide bomb attack in the main tourist area of Istanbul, Turkey which killed 11 people, mostly Europeans, and wounded 14. The attacker was identified as Nabil Fadli, a Syrian member of ISIS who entered Turkey as a supposed refugee....
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara reminds U.S. citizens of the increased threat of terrorist attacks in Turkey. Travelers are urged to exercise utmost caution and vigilance, especially in crowded places. Actively avoid large crowds and heighten your personal security posture and awareness if you choose to visit popular tourist sites, shopping malls, shopping districts, and sports and entertainment venues. For some perspective on why we report on this attack, in 2014 alone, 786,000 Americans citizens visited Turkey for tourism and business travel (Source: Turkey Border Statistics 2014)
Next up, on Thursday AlertsUSA subscribers were some of the first in the nation to learn of multiple explosions and gunfire reported in central Jakarta, Indonesia in an area close to numerous foreign embassies and the United Nations building. Of the six reported blasts, at least one occurred near a Starbucks cafe after which several gunmen carried on a raging gun battle with police. All told, seven people were killed and 23 injured. Here as well, the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Like the West, S.E Asian governments are concerned Islamic State fighters from the Middle East are returning home to pose a new threat to the region.,
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta is warning American citizens that the security situation remains fluid and further incidents are possible. U.S. citizens are being advised to defer all non-essential travel in the city and in particular, to avoid malls, restaurants, cinemas and large gatherings as these could be potential targets. The U.S. Embassy closed on Thursday and Friday as a precaution and may remain closed into next week depending on the security situation.
This was the first major attack in Jakarta since the 2009 Jakarta bombings which targeted the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels. That attack was carried out by the al Qaeda affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda-linked group seeking to unite Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines under an Islamic state.
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO ATTACK
And late Friday, AlertsUSA subscribers were again some of the first in the nation to learn of the detonation of car bombs, gun fire and a hostage situation at the four-star Splendid Hotel used by UN staff & westerners in Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou. At the time of this report's preparation, the attack and hostage situation was still underway. The BBC is reporting at least 20 people have died with 15 more wounded. In this case, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed it was responsible for the attack.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
Readers are reminded that while homeland security matters are being washed out of the headlines with other news over the last few weeks, this is not a sign of a decreasing threat. Keep in mind that on December 30th a Rochester NY resident and sworn ISIS supporter was arrested who had intended to carrying out a New Year's Eve attack on a local restaurant, and the arrest earlier this week of another ISIS supporter in Philadelphia who fired 13 shots at a police officer before being shot himself. The underlying message here is get on with your life but remain vigilant.
MONTHLY TERROR SNAPSHOT
The House Homeland Security Committee has released its Terror Threat Snapshot for January. The report reveals 72 ISIS-linked attack plots on Western targets since the terrorist group began its worldwide campaign – including 21 ISIS-linked plots inside the United States.
The report also mentions 139 terrorist cases involving homegrown Islamist extremists since 9/11, along with a running tally of ISIS supporters arrested in the U.S. to date: 79 people.
The complete January Terror Threat Snapshot is available HERE (PDF).
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international terrorism threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.