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Nov 18, 2017
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USGOV Issues Travel Alert for Europe
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USGOV Issues Travel Alert for Europe
Islamic State Threatens Vatican Attack

November 18, 2017
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Between Nov 14th-16th, the following related Flash SMS messages
were sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

11/16 - USGOV issues new travel alert for Europe warning of the heightened risk of terrorist attacks, particularly during the holiday season. See email for more info.

11/16 - DHS to release intel bulletin to law enf in coming days warning of cont threat of terrorist actions during upcoming holiday season. See email for more info.

11/14 - Islamic State's Al Hayat Media arm circulating graphic suggesting forthcoming attack on the Vatican near Christmas. See email for more.

What You Need To Know

On five occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Beginning Monday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a new propaganda poster published by the Islamic State's media arm suggesting an attack is forthcoming on the Vatican near Christmas. The image shows a masked jihadi driving at high speed towards St Peter's Square and the Basilica at the Vatican, where the Pope usually holds a large Catholic mass. An assault rifle, rucksack and explosives are clearly visible on the seat next to the driver. Words on the poster read "Christmas Blood, So Wait..."

Islamic State propaganda poster - ALLOW IMAGES

Readers are reminded that Islamic State, in it's 2014 declaration of war against the West, stated,

"We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women."

The Islamic State, and Islam in general, hold a particular blood lust for Catholics and Rome as more than nine centuries ago, the First Crusade (1096–1099) was called by Pope Urban II, who was alarmed that Muslims were persecuting Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The Second Crusade (1147–1149) was called by Pope Eugene III. In all, eight major Crusade expeditions occurred between 1096 and 1291. In addition, Muslims view Rome, and more specifically, the Vatican, as home base for Christianity, with Christians themselves viewed as enemies of God.

This is not the first time that Islamist groups have threatened or carried out attacks on churches and around Christmas. Examples include last December's truck attack on a holiday market in Berlin which killed 12 and injured 56, last year's Istanbul New Year's Eve nightclub attack, last year's attack on a Catholic church near Normandy, France within which a priest's throat was slashed at the altar, and the failed al-Qaeda bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam as the aircraft was preparing to land in Detroit on Christmas Day of 2009.

New Europe Travel Alert

In related news, on Thursday AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a new Europe-wide travel alert issued by the State Department warning of the heightened risk of terrorist attacks, and in particular, during the holiday season.

According to the alert, extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks.

Individuals planning travel abroad (to Europe or elsewhere) during the end-of-year holidays are STRONGLY encouraged to take some time to investigate the terror threat levels in your destination countries, to have the address and contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy, and to be registered with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Developing a mindset of security awareness and preparedness is essential given the times.

If new threats develop, AlertsUSA is one of your best options for staying informed.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international 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.


AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

11/14 - AlertsUSA monitoring ongoing military coup in Harare, Zimbabwe. US Embassy closed. Americans in country advised to shelter in place until further notice.

11/13 - ROK military on heightened alert for poss DPRK provocations after N. Korean soldier shot while defecting through the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the DMZ.

 
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The aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and their strike groups along with ships from the South Korean Navy as they transit the Western Pacific, Nov. 12, 2017. The strike groups are underway and conducting operations in international waters as part of a three-carrier strike force exercise. Navy photo by Lt. Aaron B. Hicks. - ALLOW IMAGES
 
World News Roundup
November 18, 2017

Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

UN chief warns terrorism 'unprecedented threat' to world peace
Head of US counterterrorism center to step down.
Is America Up for a Second Cold War?
Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA declared in default.
Ex Caracas mayor flees house arrest, arrives in Colombia
Argentine submarine goes missing with 44 crew members on board: navy
New DoD Interceptor Destroys Multiple ICBMs, Decoys at Once
US Air Force Wants to Get New Nuclear Weapons Faster
Industry Can Build 355 Ships, But Which Ones?
Navy Launches New Attack Sub With Upgraded Missile Tubes
16 high-tech F-35B stealth fighters now deployed to Japan
The Pentagon Has Avoided Audit For 27 Years

EUROPE

German Greens want last nuclear weapons withdrawn
Brexit: EU gives May two weeks to act on divorce bill and Ireland
Kremlin says not yet known if Putin will seek re-election
Russian 'foreign agent' media law an attack on free speech: HRW
Russia Rolls Out New Tu-160M2, But Are Moscow's Ambitions realistic?
Russia Military's New Nuclear Warplane Will Fly Soon
Russia's Next Big Nuclear Missile Submarine Launches Tomorrow
NATO apologizes after 'Erdogan depicted as enemies' in joint exercise
Defying Russia, Serbia holds military drills with Americans
Denmark, Eyeing Russia, OKs 20% Spending Boost; What It Means
Serbian Court suspends sentences in US embassy attack case

MIDDLE EAST

Pentagon says it's staying in Syria, even though ISIS appears defeated
U.S.-Russia divisions doom Syria chemical weapons inspections
Saudi Arabia swapping assets for freedom of some held in graft purge
Israeli military chief wants closer Saudi ties as Iran tensions rise
Zimbabwe's governing party moves to expel Robert Mugabe
Pentagon steps up Somalia drone strikes
Amnesty International accuses Philippine government forces of war crimes
US says Sudan cutting trade, military ties to North Korea
Madagascar's worst plague outbreak in 50 years continues to escalate
Israel Isn't Going to Fight Saudi Arabia's Wars
Congress moves bill jeopardizing Iran nuclear deal
Totally destroyed': East Aleppo a year after battle

ASIA

North Korea’s Submarine Ballistic Missile Program Moves Ahead
North Korea rules out negotiations on nuclear weapons
The real possibility of conflict with North Korea
The Strange Reason DPRK's Mighty Missile Forces are Angry (at Lil Kim)
North Korean Missiles Still Lack Re-Entry Capability, Seoul Says
This Is What a Chinese Nuclear Attack on America Would Look Like
Could China's Mach 10 Hypersonic Weapons Unleash the Unthinkable?
Senior Chinese envoy in North Korea amid chill in ties
U.S. envoy says no communication, no signal from DPRK amid nuclear crisis
Japan bolstering defenses against North Korea threat, Abe says
North Korean defector had 27cm parasitic worm in his stomach
China minister warns against seduction of values by Western nations
The new geopolitics of trade in Asia


Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.

Latest USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

N. Korea   11/09/2017
Togo   11/07/2017
Niger   10/24/2017
SoPac Cyclone Season   10/24/2017
Venezuela   10/23/2017
Sudan   10/19/2017
Syria   10/18/2017
DR Congo   10/16/2017
Mauritania   10/12/2017
Cameroon   10/02/2017
Cuba   09/13/2017
Kenya   09/13/2017
Haiti   09/12/2017
Europe   11/16/2017
  09/14/2017
   

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 33:3 - "Then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head."