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Sun Dec 04 22:26:26 SAST 2016

Let's hope Big Ben's tick tock is not a bomb - Travellers warned as terror alert is issued for Europe

Tmg Digital | 2016-12-01 11:07:56.0
The Big Ben Clock Tower is seen through a gate, in central London
The Big Ben Clock Tower is seen through a gate, in central London, January 13, 2015.
Image by: STEFAN WERMUTH / REUTERS

South Africans travelling to Europe over the festive season have been cautioned to remain vigilant – following a travel alert issued for the region by the US State Department.

Kim Taylor‚ customer care Leader for the Flight Centre Travel Group‚ said travellers should be particularly watchful when attending events‚ visiting popular tourist spots‚ using public transport‚ walking around in large crowds and visiting places of worship.

“Travellers should also check with their concierge or local tourist information centre what security related precautions they should be taking‚” she says.

The UK‚ Italy and Portugal are among the popular destinations that South Africans will be travelling to this festive season‚ she said.

The US State Department issued a travel alert for Europe last week‚ citing “credible information” that “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”.

The alert expires on February 20‚ 2017.

It warned that travellers should take precautions throughout Europe.

Fortunately‚ nothing came of the alert that the US embassy issued during Ramadan in South Africa.

Nevertheless‚ Taylor advised South Africans travelling to Europe to take the precaution of ensuring that they have the contact details of the South African government representation in their destination country‚ should they find themselves in a difficult situation.

“Travellers to Europe should also pay attention to the news and specific travel alerts to ensure that they are well informed of the safety risks in the country or countries they intend to visit.

"We would also advise that visitors to Europe this Christmas allow for additional time to check in at airports and ports of entry as there may be additional security checks and delays."

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