The U.S. Department of State issued a “Worldwide Caution” alert on Thursday, warning Americans around the globe to be aware of their surroundings.
“Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution,” the State Department wrote in the new advisory.
Americans traveling were warned to “stay alert in locations frequented by tourists” and enroll in the department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to both receive alerts and make it easier to locate them if an emergency occurs.
The State Department last issued this kind of alert in August 2022 following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, CNN reported.
The updated guidance comes days after the State Department warned Americans to reconsider travel to Israel and not to travel to the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict. The department has since issued an advisory warning Americans not to travel to nearby Lebanon “due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and [Hezbollah] or other armed militant factions.”
On Thursday, the State Department updated its information for American citizens hoping to leave Israel, detailing the U.S. government’s efforts to facilitate charter flights on a rolling basis from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport through at least Oct. 22.
Earlier this week, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship also helped evacuate Americans from Israel, USA Today reported. The ship had been sailing in the region when — like many other cruise lines in the area — it canceled its itineraries.
The State Department also said it was working on ways to help Americans in Gaza leave, but said the “military conflict between Israel and Hamas is ongoing, making identifying departure options for U.S. citizens complex.” The department said Americans who wish to leave should move closer to the Egyptian Rafah crossing “if you assess it to be safe.”
“We anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable,” the State Department wrote, adding, “there may be very little notice if the crossing opens, and it may only open for a limited time.”
All U.S. citizens who want U.S. government assistance to leave the region must fill out a crisis intake form online.