WASHINGTON -- Japan issued a travel alert on Monday, joining the United States and Britain in warning of a possible terrorist attack by al Qaeda in Europe.
The alert doesn't single out a specific target. Instead, the countries are urging Americans to exercise caution when using public transportation or visiting popular tourist destinations.
The governments are worried that al Qaeda may be plotting attacks targeting tourists in public places overseas. The decision is based on information about possible terror plots aimed at Britain, France and Germany.
CBN News spoke with terrorism analyst Daveed Gartenstein-Ross about the new terror warning and whether al Qaeda has the organization and leadership to execute attacks in Europe. Click play for his comments, following John Jessup's report.
Counterterrorism officials believe the attack could mirror those in Mumbai, India two years ago, and they think senior leaders of al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, may be behind them.
Security has been stepped up in places like London's Buckingham Palace and Big Ben - and in Paris, where the Eiffel Tower has been evacuated twice in two weeks.
"The terrorist threat exists, and could hit us at any moment," French Defense Minister Herve Morin said in an interview published Sunday in the daily Le Parisien. "Networks organizing themselves to prepare attacks are constantly being dismantled around the world. It is good for the French to know this."
In the meantime, those with travel plans are paying attention, but taking the alert in stride. U.S. airlines has been operating as usual, and the U.S. State Department said Americans should not cancel their plans. Instead, they recommend travelers be smart about their plans and be aware of their surroundings.
So far, the warnings haven't seemed to discourage people from traveling.
"We've planned this for nearly a year, and we're not going to cancel it now," one traveler said.
"I don't worry about these sorts of things," Jennifer Mackey, an American traveler, said. "I don't think we should be in a fear-based society. I think if we stop travelling, the so-called enemy has won."
Others like British traveler Kenneth Walsh suggested the terror alert is indicative of the new world we live in.
"I think we've all just got to be aware it is a different world now, and when we are travelling we have to be extra careful and extra vigilant," he said. "And we've all got to be patient when we come up against extra security."