EUCOM lifts travel ban to Brussels
December 1, 2015
Travel restrictions to Brussels and all of France, imposed after last month’s terrorist attack in Paris, have been lifted for Defense Department personnel and their families in Europe, military officials say.
A travel ban to Turkey, imposed earlier, remains in effect, officials at U.S. European Command said.
The travel restrictions to France and Brussels were eased over the weekend, said Lt. Col. David Westover, a EUCOM spokesman.
EUCOM, which posted the new policy for travelers Monday night on social media, reminded personnel “to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings” and to report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
Travel was restricted to France immediately after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed and scores injured.
One week later, the city of Brussels was locked down after the Belgian government raised the threat level to Level 4 — its highest level — as police hunted a suspected accomplice in the Paris attacks. The threat level was lowered to Level 3 on Nov. 26.
In an online security message posted the next day, the U.S. Embassy in Brussels urged U.S. citizens to “exercise caution and avoid large public gatherings such as major pedestrian walkways and shopping centers.”
That message came on the heels of a State Department worldwide travel advisory issued Nov. 23 — several days after militants stormed a Western-owned hotel in Mali and killed 21 people. The alert warns U.S. citizens that militants with the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continue to plan attacks in several regions. The advisory remains in effect until Feb. 24.
Most Kaiserslautern USO tours to France and Belgium for the month of December are still in effect.
EUCOM imposed a ban on travel to Turkey for all DOD military and civilian workers in early November because of growing security concerns in the country. When asked about Turkey, Westover said EUCOM doesn’t discuss specific country threats.
“We continue to assess and review conditions on the ground, working closely with host nation authorities to determine the best way forward,” he said.
In September, the Defense and State Departments offered dependents of personnel stationed at Incirlik Air Base and nearby Adana the option of returning to the States, and the Air Force suspended moves to Incirlik by families of servicemembers.
Those actions followed Turkey’s decision to allow the U.S. to fly fighter jets and drones out of Incirlik as part of the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.