State Department issues rare ‘Worldwide Caution’ alert for Americans abroad following strike on Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri

According to the White House, President Joe Biden ordered the recent drone strike that reportedly killed wanted terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former chief deputy turned successor of Osama Biden Laden and nominal leader of Al Qaeda and all of its affiliates, after he was located in Kabul, Afghanistan.

That targeted strike could result in retaliation against American citizens, however, particularly those who live abroad, according to a “Worldwide Caution” issued by the State Department this week, Breitbart reported.

The specific alert from the State Department warning of the possibility of terrorist acts against Americans in response to the killing of al-Zawahiri is notable in that such alerts are relatively rare, with the last one being just a general caution about the risks of global terrorism that was issued in January 2019.

Al-Zawahiri strike could result in retaliatory actions

It was on Monday that President Biden delivered a speech from the White House to officially declare that Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri — who played a key role in the planning of 9/11 and other Al Qaeda strikes against Americans — had been killed in a precision drone strike on the residential building in Kabul where he had been discovered.

The very next day, however, the State Department issued a red alert Worldwide Caution to specifically address the potential for retaliation in response to the fatal strike on al-Zawahiri.

It warned that in the aftermath of al-Zawahiri’s death, Al Qaeda and its affiliates “may seek to attack U.S. facilities, personnel, or citizens.”

“As terrorist attacks often occur without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad,” the advisory added.

Be on the lookout for “wide variety of tactics” of anti-American terrorists

A more generalized yellow alert Worldwide Caution was also issued by the State Department that, while certainly prompted by the strike on the Al Qaeda leader, was intended to serve more broadly against the potential for terrorist acts against Americans living or traveling abroad.

“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas,” the travel advisory warned. “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 U.S. interests in multiple regions across the globe. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings,” the advisory added.

Warning against fighting for or supporting “designated terrorist organizations”

Interestingly enough, The Hill reported that the Worldwide Caution also included a seemingly unrelated warning — though perhaps aimed at Americans who sympathize with radical Islamist terror groups — at the end that stated, “Private U.S. citizens should not travel to any country to participate in armed conflict.”

“U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of, or providing other forms of support to, designated terrorist organizations can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines,” the warning concluded.

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