Australia terror attack prompts worldwide travel warning

Posted Dec 20, 2014 by Nathan Salant
Tuesday's counterattack on a Sydney cafe that freed 15 hostages has prompted the United States to issue a worldwide travel alert advising its citizens traveling abroad to extra careful.
Visitors look at flowers and messages laid at the barrier to the crime scene which has been turned i...
Visitors look at flowers and messages laid at the barrier to the crime scene which has been turned into a makeshift memorial after a fatal siege in the heart of Sydney's financial district, on December 17, 2014
Peter Parks, AFP/File
The warning, issued Friday in the aftermath of the violent Australia incident in which two hostages and an alleged gunman died, is only the second worldwide travel warning ever issued by the United States.
"The lone wolf attack in Sydney, Australia on December 15, 2014, resulting in the deaths of two hostages, is a reminder that U.S. citizens should be extra cautious, maintain a very high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security," stated the warning by the U.S. State Department.
US officials have called the incident a "lone wolf" attack in which the alleged perpetrator acted independently of any organization, despite forcing hostages to hang Islamic flags in cafe windows during the ordeal, according to The Daily Beast.
The crisis began on Monday, when 50-year-old Man Haron Monis allegedly burst into the cafe and took customers inside hostage.
Several hostages escaped as Monis began to get tired after 16 hours, but most were still inside when police attacked. Five hostages were injured in the attack, and Monis was killed.
The slain hostages were identified as cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, who reportedly was killed trying to wrestle the gun from Monis, and Sydney attorney Katrina Dawson, a mother of three, who died later at a hospital. according to the Daily Mail newspaper.
The only previous US global travel alert was in August 2013, when US officials believed an al-Qaida attack was imminent.