USAF defies ISIL threat to Christmas

USAF families have been urged to enjoy the Christmas Fayre but stay alert  ANL-141130-205851009
USAF families have been urged to enjoy the Christmas Fayre but stay alert ANL-141130-205851009

USAF families are being encouraged to enjoy Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre in spite of a US State Department warning of a terrorism risk to festive events.

On Monday, only three days before the fayre opened, the State Department issued a European travel alert saying: “US citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.

The US State Department's European travel alert on its website ANL-161122-144146001

The US State Department's European travel alert on its website ANL-161122-144146001

“Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events.

“US citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning.”

It stresses this applies to the whole of Europe.

But on Wednesday, a USAF spokesman said: “We do encourage our personnel to take part in local community events and always stress the importance of remaining vigilant and safe at all times.

“In an effort to protect operational security, we do not discuss specific changes to our force protection conditions.”

Bury’s fayre is now one of the biggest in the UK, with people travelling from all over the country for the three-and-a-half day event.

Organiser St Edmundsbury Borough Council said it would not comment on security.

After the July 2005 London bombings, the USAF’s European command drew criticism from the MoD, police, MPs and city authorities for banning its personnel from visiting the capital.