The continuing and long-standing threat of terrorist attacks across the world is a real concern when travelling abroad.
Since 2000, there has been a nine-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorism.
Recent events in France, Bangladesh, Turkey, United States, Australia, and various other countries highlight the risks.
Being prepared and informed can ensure your holiday is a safe one.
TYPES OF ATTACKS
Modes of attack by terrorists may include one or a combination of the following:
- Kidnappings: hostage taking is a long-established terrorist tactic. Significant ransom payments are typically demanded for the kidnapping victim’s release, though a number of hostages taken have been executed for ideological propaganda purposes.
- Armed attackers: the use of weapons such as firearms or bladed weapons, often against symbolic targets such as members of the security forces, or against unarmed civilians.
- Vehicle attacks: In recent years, there have been several attacks using vehicles to run down civilians in crowded places or target military or police personnel.
- Bombings: including the use of large and small-scale improvised explosive devices against buildings, events or public places.
- Suicide operations: where attackers detonate explosives or launch direct attacks in the expectation of death.
- Hijackings: where civilian/commercial aircraft and other transport infrastructure are seized and hostages taken.
- Unconventional attacks: including the potential use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials to cause harm.
COMMON TARGETS FOR TERRORIST ATTACKS
Terrorists may target:
- local government interests: including symbols, offices and infrastructure associated with national or local governments, public transport, military and security forces bases;
- identifiably Western interests: including embassies, consulates, airlines, foreign oil and gas infrastructure, premises of multinational companies (including employee residential compounds) and international schools;
- places of mass gathering: including public buildings and infrastructure such as shopping malls, hotels, markets, public transport terminals, airports, tourist sites and public areas;
- gatherings of Westerners: including at hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment infrastructure catering to foreign clientele;
- places of worship: including mosques, churches, temples and synagogues, as well as religious ceremonies and processions of all faiths.
To reduce your exposure you should:
- research your proposed destination before you book, by regularly checking the country travel advice.
- ensure your itinerary does not include any areas where the travel advisory advises against travel; this may also include border areas or other locations within an otherwise low-risk country.
- monitor the news in the country and region you plan to visit to identify any issues that might affect your safety, including knowing about symbolic days or political events to avoid;
- be vigilant in public areas and places that attract foreigners and Westerners, such as embassies, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and identifiably Western interests:
- avoid areas with poor security;
- identify emergency exits and have an action plan in the event of a security threat;
- have a telephone and emergency contact information with you at all times;
- in high threat locations, consider obtaining professional security advice and ensure that you adhere to strict security procedures, which may include:
- avoiding routines that make you an easy target – vary the time and route of your regular journeys;
- considering ways of minimising your profile;
- undertaking formal risk assessments.
It is important your family and friends know your travel plans. To easily upload your travel plans and ensure someone knows where you are use SafetyIQ, a journey management software that is making the world a safer more connected world.