WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department issued an alert on Tuesday, raising the threat level of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe this summer, setting U.S. tourists and the fashion world on edge.
In a new travel alert the State Department cautioned Americans traveling to Europe of the potential for attacks at major events, tourist sites, restaurants and commercial and transportation centers. The alert expires at the end of August.
“The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events,” the agency said.
Several high-profile events have been scheduled in Europe, including the European Soccer Championship in France from June 10 through July 10.
In addition, several key fashion events will take place in London, Paris and Milan.
Starting June 10, men’s collections take place in London, Milan and Paris through June 26, while the Pitti Uomo men’s trade show takes place in Florence from June 14 to 17.
The Paris haute couture fashion shows take place in Paris July 3 to 7, followed by the Mode City and Interfilière lingerie trade exhibitions, which will be held in Lyon July 9 to 11. In addition, Germany hosts several industry trade fairs in Dusseldorf and Munich in July and August, while Copenhagen Fashion Week takes place Aug. 10 to 12.
“Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France and across Europe represent potential targets for terrorists, as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe,” the State Department said.
The agency also noted that France has extended the state of emergency through July 26 to cover the soccer championship as well as the Tour de France cycling race, which is set to be held from July 2 through July 24.
U.S. citizens were also warned about the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Krakow, Poland, which is expected to draw up to 2.5 million visitors between July 26 and July 31.
“U.S. citizens should be aware that local infrastructure may be strained due to the large number of visitors,” the agency said.
The Polish government will impose border controls at all of its national borders from July 4 to Aug. 2 and visitors face undergoing stricter security screenings throughout Poland.
The State Department urged U.S. travelers to “exercise vigilance in public spaces or using mass transportation.”
The agency also warned tourists to be aware of their immediate surroundings and to avoid crowded places, to monitor media and local event information sources and to have emergency plans and contacts in place.
“European authorities continue to take steps to assure public safety and disrupt terrorist plots,” the agency said. “We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.”