“Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” the alert reads. “These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”
The State Department doesn’t issue worldwide travel alerts very often. Similar alerts were issued on the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks and in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden. The last worldwide terror alert came in after a lone wolf terror attack in Sydney, Australia in December 2014.
"Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq," the alert continues. "Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis."
State Department officials who spoke to ABC News today said the alert is not meant to dissuade Americans from traveling overseas and that that it is not based on any specific intelligence or knowledge of an imminent attack. Instead, the alert is intended to make sure Americans are cautious.
"U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation," the alert reads. "Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities."
The worldwide travel alert is set to expire on Feb. 24, 2016.