Report: State Department Warns US Travelers of Al Qaeda threat

President Barack Obama, right, talks with Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before a cabinet meeeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 in Washington. Obama is ramping up pressure on Republicans to avoid a post-midnight government shutdown. He says a shutdown would hurt the economy and hundreds of thousands of government workers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, right, is pictured here with Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is the top official at the United States Department of State, which issued a global warning Thursday about the risk of an Al Qaeda attack.

A reported Al Qaeda plot to kidnap travelers has caused the State Department to issue a global warning on Thursday to US citizens and other westerners traveling abroad, WBZ-TV reported.

The story said that the terrorist organization is looking to use the kidnappings to collect ransom money that would help fund future terrorist attacks. But the warning didn’t stop at potential abductions. It also asked that people exercise caution at “sporting events, places of worship, and shopping malls.”

From WBZ:

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Those plots could take different forms including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.

[International security expert and former Defense Department official Graham] Allison adds that "particularly for us in Boston, with the marathon coming up, this is a good reminder [since] one of the things that' featured in this State Department alert is sporting events, major sort of signature sporting events."

The report added that there wasn’t a specific plot that led to the warning, but that the State Department wanted to advise the public that Al Qaeda “is still a threat.”