State Department issues 'worldwide caution' alert amid Israel-Hamas war

ByShannon K. Crawford ABCNews logo
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Biden to address nation after Israel trip
President Joe Biden will address to the nation Thursday to update Americans on the U.S. response to the Hamas attacks, the White House said.

U.S. citizens traveling abroad are urged to "exercise increased caution" in light of the heightened global tensions spurred by Hamas' terror attack on Israel and the unfolding Israel-Hamas war, the State Department said in a new advisory on Thursday.

"Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution," officials said in the "worldwide caution" alert.

The department also told Americans overseas to "stay alert in locations frequented by tourists."

The last time the department issued such a warning was in August 2022, following the counterterrorism strike in Afghanistan that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

At that time, U.S. officials warned "supporters of al- Qa'ida, or its affiliated terrorist organizations, may seek to attack U.S. facilities, personnel, or citizens."

Separately, the State Department has been instructing its embassies and consulates around the world to conduct emergency security reviews amid ongoing protests sparked by the fighting, according to sources familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by ABC News.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also instructed personnel to evaluate whether embassies should issue alerts to Americans in their respective countries about potential threats posed by the demonstrations, as many have already done.

A number of posts have asked the State Department to modify their operations due to security concerns, sources said, but at this point it does not appear that any additional embassies have asked to go on authorized departure, and so far none have requested a full evacuation.

This is developing and will be updated if more information becomes available.