The federal government is warning American citizens about the risks of traveling to and throughout Europe following the devastating terror attacks in Brussels.
The State Department issued a travel alert to U.S. citizens Tuesday after multiple explosions at an airport and subway station in Brussels killed at least 31 people and wounded 250 others. The agency cited "several terrorist attacks" in Europe, including the most recent in Brussels, as reason for U.S. citizens traveling there to exercise caution when using public transportation and to avoid crowded areas.
"Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation," the alert, which expires in three months, warned.
"U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events."
The terror attacks in Brussels Tuesday came about four months after November’s coordinated attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. Both attacks have been claimed by ISIS, the terror group that is also believed to have inspired the gun attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people in December.
Immediately after reports of Tuesday’s attacks at Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek subway station, the U.S. Embassy in Brussels recommended that American citizens there shelter in place and avoid public transportation.
The embassy has updated its security message to warn U.S. citizens of ongoing anti-terrorism police activity, recommending they follow instructions from local authorities and bolster their personal security. Police have shut down Brussels Airport through Wednesday and are conducting anti-terror raids to glean more information about the attacks, at least two of which are believed to have been suicide bombings.
Several Americans were injured in the explosions, including a member of the U.S. Air Force and his family in addition to three Mormon missionaries. Details on the service member’s injuries or those of his family have not been released.
The threat level in Belgium has been elevated to its maximum following the bombings.