ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1400 local time (1800 UTC) on 16 April 2022, a shootout occurred inside a crowded shopping mall located about 10 mi (15 km) north of downtown Columbia, the state capital of South Carolina. At least nine people suffered gunshot wounds and five others were injured while attempting to flee the Columbiana Centre mall. There were no fatalities. Authorities detained three people in relation to the event; one of the three detainees remains in police custody. The local police chief believes the shooting resulted from an unspecified altercation among people who knew each other.
Afghanistan / Pakistan (Security threat levels – 5 / 5): Early on 16 April 2022, Pakistani security forces launched airstrikes in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces of Khost and Kunar. Afghan officials confirmed that at least 45 people were killed and 22 more were injured in the airstrikes. Hundreds of demonstrators later gathered in Khost city to protest the raids. The airstrikes targeted villages where Tehrik-e-Taliban (Pakistani Taliban) militants have allegedly been sheltering after unidentified assailants killed seven Pakistani soldiers in an attack in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region the previous week.
China (Security threat level – 3): As of 16 April 2022, a partial lockdown is in effect in the central city of Xi’an, the provincial capital of Shaanxi province, amid an increase in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. The lockdown is set to continue until 19 April. Authorities have advised individuals to stay within their residential compounds, and businesses have been encouraged to allow employees to work from home or live at their place of employment. Taxis and other forms of public transportation are not allowed to leave the city. Additionally, dining at restaurants and various entertainment venues is suspended during the lockdown period.
Analyst Comment: Although officials have tentatively scheduled a partial citywide lockdown from 16-19 April, travelers and residents should be prepared for the possibility of an extension of the lockdown for up to one week as evinced in previous lockdowns in other Chinese cities.
Bulgaria / Russia (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 16 April 2022, Bulgarian government officials banned all Russian vessels from accessing the country’s Black Sea ports due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Bulgarian maritime authorities, all Russia-flagged ships, as well as vessels that have switched their registration to any other state after 24 February, will be banned from accessing Bulgarian ports. Ships that are seeking humanitarian aid, are in distress, or transporting aid to other EU countries, may still access the ports.
France (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1945 local time (1745 UTC) on 16 April 2022, French security forces fired tear gas in the capital Paris to disperse demonstrators who had gathered to oppose Marine Le Pen — the presidential candidate of the far-right National Party. Police officers clashed with the demonstrators, who threw projectiles at the officers and set trash cans ablaze. No injuries or arrests were reported. According to the Ministry of Interior, approximately 22,000 people gathered in 30 cities as part of the countrywide demonstrations against Le Pen ahead of a presidential runoff election scheduled to occur on 24 April.
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 17 April 2022, riots broke out in the eastern cities of Linköping and Norrköping ahead of scheduled anti-Islam demonstrations by the far-right Stram Kurs party in which organizers planned to burn copies of the Quran. In Norrköping, approximately 150 counterprotesters threw stones at police officers and police vehicles, while also setting fire to several vehicles. At least three people were hospitalized – and later arrested — after warning shots fired by police officers to disperse the protest apparently ricocheted and hit them. On 16 April a riot broke out in the Rosengård district of the southern city of Malmo, where protesters set fire to several vehicles, including a public passenger bus. Police officials stated that 26 police officers and 14 civilians were injured and more than 20 vehicles were damaged in the two days of unrest.
Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 5): On the morning of 17 April 2022, Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians attempting to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. Social media reports showed Israeli security personnel storming the area around the mosque. At least two people reportedly sustained injuries during the clashes.
Meanwhile in the West Bank, Israeli security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse Palestinian protesters in the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron city. The demonstrators marched from the al-Hussein Mosque to the Bab al-Zawiya area on Palestinian Prisoner’s Day to call for the release of Palestinian inmates detained by Israeli authorities. Local reports indicate that at least one person was injured by live ammunition and dozens more suffered tear gas-related injuries.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 18 April 2022, al-Shabab militants carried out a mortar attack on the Parliament building in the capital Mogadishu. The militants fired the mortars as parliament members gathered to attend a second parliamentary session after taking their oaths of office on 14 April. At least six individuals were injured in the attack.
Bulgaria / Romania / Turkey (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): On 14 April 2022, U.S. embassies in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey issued the following Security Alert regarding drifting mines in the Black Sea: “There are confirmed reports of an undetermined number of drifting mines in the western Black Sea, at least four of which Turkish and Romanian authorities have intercepted. Drifting mines pose a hazard to commercial and passenger vessels.
“The State Department recommends U.S. citizens traveling by sea review the advisories from the NATO Shipping Centre and the U.S. Maritime Advisory System regarding the risk of collateral damage in the northwestern, western, and southwest Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”