Emergency Message # 17/2011 for US Citizens: Worldwide Caution
Emergency Message # 17/2011 for US Citizens: Worldwide Caution
U.S. Mission to the United Arab Emirates
U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi - U.S. Consulate General Dubai
Emergency Message # 17/2011 for U.S. Citizens: Worldwide Caution
The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat
of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are
reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security
awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated January 31, 2011, to provide updated information on
security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. The Department of State believes there is an enhanced potential for anti-American violence given the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. Current information suggests that Al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist
attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations,
kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and
private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas,
business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist
destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and
other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems,
aviation, and maritime services. In the past several years, these types of attacks have occurred in cities
such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.
EUROPE: Current information suggests that Al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist
attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attack, and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. In the past several years, attacks have been planned or occurred in various European cities.
MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. For example, Iraq remains dangerous and
unpredictable. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue. Methods of attack
have included roadside improvised explosive devices, mortars, and shootings; kidnappings still occur as well.
Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities there. The U.S. Embassy has had to
close several times in response to ongoing threats by Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S.
citizens as well as other Westerners have been targeted for attack in Yemen. U.S. citizens have also been the
targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-
Western terrorist activity continues to exist there. In Algeria, terrorist attacks occur regularly, particularly
in the Kabylie region of the country. In the past, terrorists have targeted oil processing facilities in
both Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The events of the last few months in many countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen,
Bahrain, and Syria, have resulted in civil unrest and large-scale protests and demonstrations. The situation
in Libya remains volatile and dangerous and the threat of violent military and terrorist operations remains
high, even in opposition-controlled areas. U.S. citizens are warned that demonstrations intended to be
peaceful can escalate into violent clashes. U.S. citizens are reminded that demonstrations and riots can
occur with little or no warning. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and
to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.
AFRICA: A number of Al-Qa'ida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around
Africa. Since the July 11, 2010 terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, for which the Somalia-based, U.S.-
designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility, there have been increased
threats against public areas across East Africa. The terrorist attacks of August and September 2010 against
the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Somalia, as well as
the bombing of hotels and minibuses in Somalia, highlight the vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks in
East Africa and around the world. Additionally, the terrorist group Al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (which includes
Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings,
and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.
U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should
exercise extreme caution, as there has been a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings
for ransom by pirates. Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali territorial waters, while others have
been hijacked as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international
The U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or
in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or
cruise-ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels
should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's suggested piracy countermeasures for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden, which can be found at http://www.marad.dot.gov/news_room_landing_page/horn_of_africa_piracy/horn_of_africa_piracy.htm
SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South and
Central Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S.
citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of Al-Qa'ida and its affiliates [Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba,
indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government's list of Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.
Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of
extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government
and military/law enforcement personnel. Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations,
as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas. In Afghanistan, remnants of the former Taliban
regime and the Al-Qa'ida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF)/NATO military operations, remain active. There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and
assassination of U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country.
There is an increased threat of terrorism in India. Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.
CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Al-Qa'ida, the
Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian region.
Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and attacked U.S. government interests in the
past. Previous terrorist attacks conducted in Central Asia have involved improvised explosive devices, suicide
bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.
Before You Go
The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll
in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with
important safety and security announcements. Enrolling will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.
U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and
take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to
"A Safe Trip Abroad" on our website, http://travel.state.gov/.
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may
temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those
instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S.
citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, such as Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Information, and country specific Messages and Emergency Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/. Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Traveler iPhone App for travel information at your fingertips. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security
conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a
regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi is located at Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, P.O. Box 4009. The telephone number is (971) (2) 414-2200, and the Consular Section fax number is (971) (2) 414-2241. The email address for American Citizens Services inquiries, including passport questions, is email@example.com. The Embassy Internet web site is http://abudhabi.usembassy.gov.
For after-hours emergencies in Abu Dhabi, contact the Embassy at (971) (2) 414-2500 for the Abu Dhabi Duty Officer.
Beginning on August 7, 2011, The U.S. Consulate General in Dubai will be at its new permanent location at the corner of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed and Al Seef Streets on the Dubai Creek in Bur Dubai. The telephone number at the new Consulate General will be (971) (4) 309-4000.
During the move, from August 2 through August 6, for after-hours emergencies in Dubai, contact the Embassy in Abu Dhabi at (971)(2) 414-2500 to reach the Dubai Duty Officer. From August 7 onward, the Dubai Duty Officer can be reached at (971)(4) 309-4050.
The email address for American Citizens Services inquiries, including passport questions, is DubaiWarden@state.gov. The web site for the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai is http://dubai.usconsulate.gov.
Until August 1, Consulate General is located on the 21st floor of the Dubai World Trade Center, P.O. Box 9343. The telephone number is (971) (4) 311-6000. The Consular Section fax number is (971) (4) 311-6213.