The U.S. State Department has announced an updated ‘Worldwide Caution’ for American citizens immediately after President Trump’s announcement regarding Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, which has prompted vows of retaliation by Islamic governments and terrorist groups around the globe.
“As part of the Department of State’s continuous efforts to provide U.S. citizens traveling abroad with information about safety and security events, we are updating the Worldwide Caution with information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions, political violence, and criminal activity against U.S. citizens and interests abroad,” reads the alert. “U.S. government facilities worldwide remain in 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.”
Associated Press diplomatic writer, Matt Lee, reports that this is the first time a worldwide caution has been issued in response to a U.S. policy decision since the start of the Iraq War in 2003.
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) December 7, 2017
The general alert does not cite the Jerusalem decision directly, but its timing cannot by mistaken, and it comes on the heels of warnings by the U.S. Embassy in Israel regarding mass protests and potential violence in the region, including multiple security messages forbidding U.S. government employees and their families from personal travel to sensitive regions of Israel.
“The recent announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may spark protests, some of which have the potential to become violent,” reads the most updated notice from December 6th. “In view of this announcement and the potential for protests, U.S. government employees and their family members are not permitted to conduct personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank, to include Bethlehem and Jericho. Official travel by U.S. government employees in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank is permitted only to conduct essential activities and with additional security measures.”
The State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) has also issued security messages for specific cities and countries around the globe that could see unrest as a result of the Jerusalem announcement, saying, “Security Message from U.S. Embassy in [location] reminds of the need for caution and awareness of personal security, notes Jerusalem recognition may spark protests, some of which have the potential to become violent.”
Possible hot spots, as identified by OSAC, include Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, London, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belarus, and Germany. A comprehensive updated list can be found HERE.
Additionally, “protest activity” brewing near U.S. diplomatic offices has already been identified in multiple cities in Turkey.
🇹🇷 Security Message from U.S. Embassy in #Ankara notes protest activity this evening in the vicinity of several U.S. government diplomatic offices in #Turkey. https://t.co/qZY4tUEdbb pic.twitter.com/AQlyXoFI1G
— OSAC (@OSACState) December 6, 2017
Palestinian jihadist organization, Hamas, is demanding a Palestinian-Islamist uprising, with their leader, Ismail Haniyeh, saying, “We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy.”