ABIA travelers react to global terror threat


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE


Posted on August 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 7:33 AM

AUSTIN -- Nearly two dozen American embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Northern Africa remained closed Monday due to the possibility of terrorist attacks. Intelligence officials say they've intercepted Al-Qaeda messages that say they are, "Going to be big" and "strategically significant."

Due to the threat, a travel alert remains in effect for Americans traveling to the region urging them to be especially cautious.

In Austin, Monday looked like any other hot, summer day at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.  However, the mood among international travelers KVUE spoke to was less sunny due to the worldwide travel alert.

"There's definitely reason to heed the warnings," said Joseph Williams. "Everybody should be taking notice of what's going on over there."

U.S Representative Michael McCaul from Texas is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. He appeared on "Face the Nation" Sunday and expressed his concern.

"This is probably one of the most specific, and credible threats I've seen perhaps since 9-11," said McCaul. "That's why everyone is taking this so seriously."

Shireen Hamilton of Toronto says the travel alert has already affected her travel plans.

"Definitely when I heard about it a couple of days ago I was a little concerned just traveling from Toronto to here," she said. "If I was traveling to one of those countries, I would definitely be concerned. In fact, I probably would not be going to be honest, because who knows if you'll actually end up coming back home. It's really scary."

Everyone KVUE spoke to realizes the reasons for the security concerns, but some say travelers need to be vigilant every day and everywhere -- not just in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

"To be honest, that could happen to us anywhere," said Doug Kovach from Killeen. "That could happen to us right now here in this airport. It's chance, the chance of anything."  

The global travel alert extends through August.

See the full text from the U.S. Department of State here.