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Local travelers remaining vigilant in the wake of U.S. State Department's worldwide travel alert
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015
By Lorena Incl?n
The police presence at the Jacksonville International Airport has increased since the Paris attacks. JIA is on a full schedule as airlines work to get people to their destinations. The passengers Action News Jax spoke to were very much aware of the recent alert.
The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a worldwide travel alert warning Americans that extremists have targeted large sporting events, theaters, open markets and aviation services. Authorities are also urging more vigilance at holiday festivals.
Planes filled with eager travelers took off like clockwork from JIA on Tuesday afternoon. Ticket counters were busy as airport police made their rounds.
But the festive atmosphere quickly turned serious when travelers discussed the State Department’s worldwide travel alert for all Americans.
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“Makes you watch your surroundings more because you never know these days,” said traveler Lasalle Gray.
And that’s exactly what authorities want travelers to do.
The State Department warned that terrorists groups like ISIS continue to plan attacks in multiple regions, especially now that the holiday season is in full swing.
“Be more vigilant -- if you see something, say something,” said Jacksonville Aviation Authority Director Michael Stewart.
But the State Department isn’t only warning about terrorist groups. There’s also a threat from those who may be inspired by them and act alone.
The travel alert does have time constraints, usually lasting a few months; the current alert is in effect until Feb. 24, 2016.
The last alert was issued last December and at least three times before that.
“It's getting to the point where it's becoming the norm and that's very sad,” Gray said.
The travel alert doesn’t mean traveling should be avoided, but the State Department is urging travelers to be vigilant.