The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans abroad in Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East that they are at high risk of terrorist kidnappings and attacks.
The State Department issued a global terror alert on Friday cautioning U.S. citizens abroad that they are prime targets for attacks from Islamic State militants and its supporters.
"Terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners," the department said in a statement.
“In response to the airstrikes, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are,” it said. “Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.”
Those travelers with the highest risk of being kidnapped are those from countries that have paid ransom to terror groups in the past.
“Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa`ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations,” it said.
The state department says that areas where large groups of travelers gather are primary targets.
“Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays,” the statement reads.
Americans are reminded that public transportation is also a prime target, including “subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services.”
ISIS has threatened to kill U.S. soldier-turned-humanitarian aid worker Peter Kassig if the military campaign isn’t stopped.
It is unclear how many hostages ISIS currently holds.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / The LEAF Project