Travelers Told to "Protect Themselves" Amid "Increased Chatter" From Terror Group

The travel alert is expected to last through Aug. 31

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The United States issued a global travel alert on Friday due to an unspecified threat from al-Qaida. Most travelers at LAX were unaware of the alert, but said it would not have affected their plans either way. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2013.

    No "direct threats" have been made against Los Angeles in connection with an apparent terror plot that has prompted the U.S. State Department to shutter embassies and issue a worldwide travel alert, city authorities said.

    The travel alert, issued Friday to all Americans, is expected to last through Aug. 31 because of an unspecified threat linked to al-Qaida, the State Department said.

    "There is no direct threat against our facilities," LAX airport police told NBC4, adding that they will continue to monitor global events.

    That same message is being relayed by the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI.

    Link: Read the Full Travel Alert

    At LAX Friday, U.S. and European travelers alike seemed defiant when they learned about the warning.

    Photographer Alex Abercrombie was traveling to Italy to photograph a wedding. She was unaware of the warning before NBC4 asked her about it, but said it wouldn’t sway her travel plans anyway.

    "I’m flying anyway," she said. "I mean, you could get hit by a bus crossing the street."

    Millions of travelers, especially Americans, passing through airport, train stations and other transport hubs during the busy late-summer season are being told to "be aware of their surroundings" and "protect themselves."

    "The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula," the state department.

    Top U.S. officials said the alert is related to "a significant increase in chatter" among the terror group.

    The alert was issued after the U.S. said that all Americans embassies and consulates in the Middle East that normally open on a Sunday would close Aug. 4 because of a possible al Qaeda-related threat.

    A senior State Department official told NBC News they could remain shut for an extended period.

    The warning happens to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time when previous attacks have occurred. The month of fasting ends next Wednesday.

    Officials suggest international travelers register their plans through the State Department's travel registration website, and enroll in a department program that sends out security updates and makes it easier for nearby embassies to contact them in case of an emergency.