UK

Brits Are Targets When They Travel Abroad, Foreign Office Warns

01/11/2014 10:33 GMT | Updated 01/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Britons travelling abroad are being warned that they could be targeted by terrorists seeking revenge for UK air strikes against Islamic State (IS) extremists.

The Foreign Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice for all destinations across the globe that British nationals faced a "heightened threat" of attack from "groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria".

It urges all Britons living or travelling overseas to be "vigilant" at the current time.

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Britons travelling abroad are being warned that they could be targeted

The FCO said that it was responding to the "generalised threat" rather than warnings of a specific attack.

The move comes after Home Secretary Theresa May announced in August that the UK national terror threat level had been raised from "substantial" to "severe", meaning an attack is considered ''highly likely''.

Last month, Parliament gave the go-ahead for the RAF to carry out air strikes against IS forces in Iraq and the Government has been supplying arms to the Kurdish peshmerga militias fighting the extremists.

The updated FCO advice states: "There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time."

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    The increased threat means a heightened security presence is planned for next week’s Remembrance Day events.

    The FCO advises against all travel to most parts of Iraq, and all of Syria, where it says it is unable to provide assistance to any British citizen in leaving the country. There is also advice not to travel within 10km of the border of Syria, within Turkey.

    In that region, Iraqi peshmerga fighters are getting ready for the battle against Islamic State group extremists in the border town of Kobane.

    Some 150 peshmerga fighters entered Kobane on Friday night to fight the extremist group that controls parts of the town.

    The force brought in badly needed heavy weapons including artillery, heavy machine guns and anti-tank missiles, material that could tip the balance of power in favor of the Kurds.

    Islamic State group positions in Kobane also have been targeted US-led airstrikes. British airstrikes on IS targets are currently restricted to Iraq.

    The Islamic State group has alarmed the international community with its recent seizure of a third of Iraq's territory and parts of neighboring Syria. On Friday evening, the UN Security Council released a statement expressing its "deep outrage" at the killings, kidnapping, rapes and torture by the Islamic State group in Iraq.

    The statement urges the international community to increase its support of Iraq's government and security forces.

    The council also welcomes the appointments of Iraq's defense and interior ministers and the swearing-in of Kurdish ministers, "which completed the formation of an inclusive Government that represents all segments of the Iraqi population."