Washington D.C. [United States], Nov.22 : A travel alert has been issued by the U.S. State Department urging its nationals to exercise caution at holiday festivals, events and outdoor markets in Europe in the coming weeks.
This comes in wake of an ISIS-linked plot being thwarted by the French security services day ago. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday that seven people were arrested by the authorities after carrying out anti-terror raids in Strasbourg and Marseilles on Sunday.
The eight-month-long investigation foiled a "new terrorist attack that had been planned for a long time on our soil," CNN quoted Cazeneuve, as saying in a news conference in Paris.
The alert stated, "Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da'esh), al Qaeda, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events.
US citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning.
Terrorists may employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and nonconventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests." This travel alert expires on February 20, 2017.
A source close to the investigation said that investigators believed that a terrorist operative inside Syria linked to ISIS was directing the people behind the plot thwarted over the weekend in France and added that authorities are investigating whether any of the individuals arrested traveled to Syria.
The suspects arrested are of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin and are between 29 and 37 years old. Investigators only knew about the Moroccan suspect as they had received intelligence from a neighboring country.