Europe-wide Terror Alert

Worldwide | Tue, 5 Oct 2010 | 2348 views | No Comments

The United States has taken the unusual step of issuing a Europe-wide terror alert to its citizens, prompting other governments, including Australia, UK, France, Sweden, and Japan to follow suit with warnings to their own nationals.

In a statement issued on Sunday 3rd October the US warned of the potential for Mumbai-style terrorist attacks somewhere in England, France, or Germany.

The government says its terror alert was issued because of a “growing body of information of terrorist plotting, gathered over time”.

The British government has raised its threat level from “general” to “high” for people travelling to France and Germany.

The Australian government has updated terror warnings for over 30 European destinations, advising of a potential threat to tourist locations, public transport and landmarks. It has not advised its citizens to cancel travel to any of the destinations.

What’s Happening?

Although there’s no specific target, there’s quite clearly a credible threat. A well-advanced plot to stage an attack or attacks has been discovered.

A Pakistani intelligence official has revealed a gang of terror plotters, including European nationals has been training in Pakistan: "They have been making calls to Germany and London. They have been talking about and looking for facilitators and logistics they need there to carry out terror strikes." He said.

Two days after issuing the new alert, it was revealed US armed drones (thought to be CIA-operated) attacked a target in Pakistan and killed 5 German and 2 British passport-holders.

A record number of drone attacks on targets in Pakistan during September (21 of them) would suggest the authorities are on to the plotters, but there’s no way of knowing if everyone has been discovered.

In fact, German magazine, Der Spiegel, reports that an Afghan-German detained by US forces in Afghanistan, has provided information about plots in Europe. The magazine claims Ahmed Sidiqui, of Hamburg, a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, told American interrogators that some operatives may already be in Europe.

Is It Safe To Go?

This is a non-specific warning, no target has been identified, although everywhere is a potential target. No-one’s telling you NOT to go… not anyone in authority, anyway. It’s up to each and every one of us to weigh up the risks and make our own decisions on whether to travel.

If you decide it’s too risky to travel to Europe right now, talk to your airline and travel provider – depending on the type of ticket you have purchased you may be able to rearrange your travel for another time or get a refund.Unfortunately if you decide to cancel or postpone your trip but can’t get a refund or rearrangement, that’s a personal decision not covered by cancellation insurance.

If it’s any guide, travel agents are reporting very few people have made the decision to cancel. As one travel operator told CNN, “The chances of anything happening to any individual are very, very slim”. 

Am I Covered?

Good question, and as always with travel insurance the answer is “depends”. It depends on the policy you have, the level of cover you’ve taken out, what happens, what official warnings are issued and what the consequences are for you.

Travel insurance in a post-9/11 world is tricky, but Insurance Director Graham Kingaby explains why “terrorism” is exempt from cover here in the SafetyHub.

We’ve also previously written in detail about what kind of cover you get with your particular policy from where you live.

Have a read of both pieces, it will help you to assess your risk profile and make a decision on whether you continue with your trip to Europe at this time.


Tags: australia, europe, france, germany, japan, travel-advice, travel-alert, uk, usa

plot to launch Mumbai-style multiple attacks

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