Image source: Time
After the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the US State Department warned Americans abroad to be very vigilant.
The warning came on Tuesday night that Americans should be wary of possible retaliation for the murder.
Travel Advice said there may be ‘higher potential for American violence after [Zawahiri’s] death,’ after US forces launched a drone strike on Zawahiri’s hideout in Kabul over the weekend.
What did the State Department say?
The State Department statement contains current information that “suggests that terrorist groups are planning attacks on US interests in multiple regions of the world.”
The ministry said the attacks could use a wide variety of tactics: suicide operations, murders, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings.
“As terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warnings, US citizens are strongly encouoraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.”
The ministry also advised international US citizens to follow local news and stay in touch with the nearest US embassy or consulate. In addition, they advised people planning trips abroad to consult travel advice and country-specific information sites.
The warning does not indicate an increased risk of attacks on US soil, but suggests that anything is possible.
“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas,”
“The Department of State believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 31, 2022.”
“Current information suggests that terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions across the globe.”
“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.”
“US citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.”
The reason for the warning
The warnings came 24 hours after Biden announced Zawahiri’s killing to the world – important news to comfort victims of the 9/11 terror attack, which Zawahiri played a crucial role in orchestrating.
Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded Osama bin Laden after his assassination in 2011, and he managed to escape US forces last weekend.
Al-Qaeda has yet to publicly acknowledge the assassination, indicating how serious it is for the group’s power structure.
Statement by President Biden
On Monday, Biden broke the news of Zawahiri’s death, noting that the al-Qaeda leader befriended bin Laden as a militant in Afghanistan in the late 1980s.
“Now, justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” said the President.
“We made it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”
“He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests,” Biden continued.
“To those around the world who continue to seek to harm the United States, hear me now. We will always remain vigilant, and we will act, and we will always do what is necessary to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and around the globe.”