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PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

This information is current as of today,

WORLDWIDE CAUTION

March 19, 2004

This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated January 9, 2004 . It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat of terrorist attacks. This Worldwide Caution expires on September 19, 2004 .

The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens are cautioned to maintain a high level of vigilance, to remain alert and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. We are seeing indications that Al-Qaida continues to prepare to strike U.S. interests abroad.

Al-Qaida and its associated organizations have most recently struck in the Middle East and in Europe but other geographic locations could also be venues for attacks. Future Al-Qaida attacks could possibly involve non-conventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents as well as conventional weapons of terror. We also cannot rule out that Al-Qaida will attempt a catastrophic attack within the U.S.

Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may involve aviation and other transportation and maritime interests, and may also include conventional weapons, such as explosive devices. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time 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. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate .

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. 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 U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2 328.

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