While Christmas should be a time merrymaking and joy, the US is warning that it could be a time of terror and chaos.
According to Yahoo News, The State Department issued a terrifying update to their travel warnings for Christmas and New Years. The State Department warned there will be an increased threat of terrorist attacks in Europe this year.
This new threat assessment is based on the disturbing attacks that occurred last year in Europe. The warning from the State Department specifically states: “Last year, mass casualty attacks occurred at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany in December and a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on New Year’s Eve.”
The Telegraph reports that a terrorist in a large truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany last year. The suspect, Anis Amri was later revealed to be an ISIS supporter, his attack killed 12 people.
According to Express, an even deadlier attack occurred on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul, Turkey when a gunman shot at club-goers attending the Reina nightclub. The terrorist managed to kill 39 people, injuring 69 before fleeing the scene.
In addition to these violent attacks, the State Department has also pointed to recent terrorist activity in Britain, Finland, France, Russia, Spain and Sweden that show an increased level of activity among terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda.
The State Department made assurances that every effort was being made to combat the threat, but there was always the possibility one could still occur. “While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the [State] Department remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks,” the statement said.
The statement warned US citizens to remain vigilant and careful when celebrating the holidays: “US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.”
According to the Mirror, ISIS has released a propaganda poster hinting at a terrorist attack at the Vatican this Christmas. The post shows a masked driver behind the wheel of a car facing St. Peter’s Basilica driving at high speeds with an assault rifle and a bag in the passenger seat. The words “Christmas Blood, So Wait” hover above it.
Every year, the Vatican draws thousands of faithful Christians from across the world to worship and celebrate Christmas. The Pope often makes appearances at the Vatican during this time of year to advise and bless members of the Catholic church and people around the world.
A terrorist attack using a car or a gun would be devastating at such a highly attended event.
The State Department has warned there is an increased threat of terror attacks in Europe this year. Does the threat of terrorist attacks keep you from traveling to Europe?
While the threat of a terrorist attack is frightening, it should not discourage people from traveling or celebrating the holidays. The purpose of terrorist threats and attacks is to instill fear and cause panic. People should not live in fear and hide in their homes because of a few vile members of society, but neither should they ignore a serious threat.
Should anyone choose to travel or attend highly attended activities, it would be wise to take the State Department’s advice to remain cautious and vigilant.
Hopefully, the holidays will be filled with joy and charity, and not see death and destruction like last year.