U.S. State Department issues travel warning

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WASHINGTON — Americans traveling abroad should beware of potential terror attacks aimed at them in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East by al-Qaida or its affiliated groups, the U.S. State Department said in a global travel alert.

"Extremists may elect to use conventional or nonconventional weapons, and target both official and private interests," the department said Wednesday. Potential targets may include high-profile sports events, residences, businesses, hotels, clubs, restaurants, schools, places of worship, shopping malls and tourist destinations where Americans congregate.

Two U.S. officials familiar with the warning said that while it's a routine renewal of the department's worldwide caution, it also reflects mounting intelligence that suggests Islamic terrorist groups loosely affiliated with what remains of al-Qaida's core leadership in Pakistan may be planning a new series of attacks against Western targets.