Extremist Website Posting – Security Message for U.S. Citizens 2014 – 7

October 28, 2014

Kuwait City, Kuwait
October 28, 2014

A recent anonymous posting on a Jihadist website encouraged attacks against American and other international schools in the Middle East, including western teachers employed at those schools  The Embassy is not aware of any specific, credible threat against any specific school or individuals in Kuwait.  U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Kuwait should remain vigilant regarding their personal security and alert to local security developments.

The Embassy takes this opportunity to remind U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Kuwait.  Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.  They may attack in groups or alone, in planned actions or attacking targets of opportunity.  The U.S. government remains concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests such as schools, residential areas, and private and public transportation systems.  Caution should also be exercised in places where U.S. and Western citizens gather, including malls and shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, places of worship, and other public areas.

These are some measures you can take to increase your personal safety:

  • Avoid crowds.  Large gatherings can quickly become dangerous.
  • Keep a low profile.  Be aware of how others dress and behave in public and try to blend in.
  • Vary your routes and times of travel.  Being less predictable makes you more difficult to target.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Understand what “belongs” and what does not.
  • Avoid traveling alone.  Avoid isolated areas, especially after dark.  Tell friends, colleagues, or neighbors where you’re going and when you intend to return.
  • Know where you are going and your destination.  Find exits and have a plan to escape.  Select “safe havens” along your route, such as government buildings, friends’ residences, shops or restaurants, or gas stations.
  • Always carry a charged cell phone.  Make sure you have programmed emergency numbers in all your family members’ phones.
  • Be prepared to postpone or cancel activities.
  • Report concerns you may have to the police and to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  If you perceive a threat, or are the victim of a crime, in Kuwait, dial 112.  The Embassy’s main number is (965) 2259-1001, and the after-hours duty officer can be reached at (965) 9967-7265. For additional information, please refer to the Traveler’s Checklist.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).