- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2015

The U.S. government issued multiple new terror bulletins on Friday in the aftermath of the Paris massacres, urging local police to watch for increased terrorism activity while cautioning American travelers abroad they are at risk of attack or kidnapping.

U.S. officials said they had no intelligence about any impending attacks but issued the bulletins to provide new guidance based on the information they are learning about the Paris attackers and their ties to an al-Qaida offshoot.

A joint FBI-Homeland Security Department bulletin to 18,000 local law enforcement departments warned police that the French attackers showed a high degree of training and sophistication compared to other recent attacks on soft targets.

The attackers of a French satirical newspaper “demonstrated a greater degree of sophistication and advanced weapons handling than seen in previous coordinated small-arms attacks” and “acted with confidence and exhibited skill in weapons handling,” the bulletin noted.

The State Department, meanwhile, updated its world travel warning for the first time in three months, warning Americans traveling in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other hot spots that they could face terrorist attack or kidnapping.

The bulletin cited among other things increased U.S. military action against the Islamic State.

SEE ALSO: Cherif and Said Kouachi, Charlie Hebdo suspects, killed; hostages freed at 2 terror sites

“Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests,” it warned. “Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.”

The FBI said its bulletin was “part of our continuous dialogue with the law enforcement and intelligence community.”

“We urge the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement,” it said.

The Bureau has sent out similar reminders to law enforcement agencies in the past, including following a December attack at a Sydney coffee shop that left several people dead.

FBI Director James Comey said home-grown extremism remains one of his top concerns.

“I continue to be concerned about the potential for homegrown violent extremists, especially connected with ISIL,” he told reporters in December, using the acronym for the terrorist group known as the Islamic State.

SEE ALSO: Abu Saad al-Ansari, Islamic State, brags: We did Paris — ‘tomorrow will be in Britain, America’

The attacks in Paris this week left at least a dozen people dead after extremists assaulted the offices of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

• Phillip Swarts can be reached at pswarts@washingtontimes.com.

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