The U.S. State Department issued alerts from its embassy in Ottawa, as well as its consulates in Toronto, Quebec and Nova Scotia on Friday, warning of the potential for a terrorist attack targeting American citizens.
Three bulletins posted on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs advised that while the travel advisory for Canada remains normal, officials advised American citizens abroad to take care given an ongoing fear of attacks targeting them.
“The U.S. government remains concerned that terrorists are intent on targeting U.S. citizens, including children,” the bulletin reads.
“Terrorists may employ a variety of tactics, such as violent assaults and kidnappings. In the past, they have used knives, guns, and vehicles as ramming devices. They may target schools, hospitals, churches, tourist locations, transportation hubs, and other public venues.”
Among the steps, the bulletins advise Americans abroad to take care staying alert in public places, keeping a low profile, reviewing their travel routes to avoid becoming predictable, and reporting social media threats to local authorities.
According to a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the alerts were issued as part of a global alert to all American embassies and consulates.
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The alert comes just weeks after a deadly van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and injured 16 others.
Alek Minassian, 25, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack.
Two people also died and dozens more were injured earlier last month when a minibus struck diners at a pub in Germany, though police have said they do not believe that attack was terrorism.
Using vehicles to ram and kill bystanders has become a more common method used in terrorist attacks in Europe and North America over the last several years.
Barcelona, Paris, London, Berlin, Nice, Edmonton have all been witness to such attacks during the past three years, several of which also involved drivers stabbing and injuring bystanders once their vehicle stopped.
However, preventing such attacks has proved difficult given they can be carried out with little apparent planning and use weapons that are readily accessible.
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