Worldview Security Update – July 26, 2019
26-Jul-19

AMERICAS

Brazil (Security threat level – 3) : On 25 July 2019, armed assailants carried out a robbery at a cargo terminal of Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport (SBGR/GRU). During the robbery, at least four perpetrators — who had entered the area riding in a truck disguised as a Brazilian federal police vehicle — approached the terminal and seized a significant amount of gold and other valuable metals worth an estimated 30 million U.S. dollars that was due to be shipped to Zurich, Switzerland and New York, United States. The perpetrators then kidnapped two airport workers, whom they later released unharmed. There were no reports of casualties. Police officers have launched an investigation into the heist and are pursuing the robbers.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): As planned, on the afternoon of 26 July 2019, at least 2,500 demonstrators gathered in the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) to protest against the now-suspended extradition bill. The protesters — who included airport workers — chanted anti-government slogans and distributed flyers to passersby in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing anti-extradition movement among international travelers. Airport authorities increased security and advised passengers to allow sufficient time for their travels ahead of the demonstration. The protests are ongoing and have remained peaceful, despite a large number of participants at the site. Airport operations were unaffected.

Japan (Security threat level – 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 26 July 2019, Tropical Cyclone Seven (Nari) was located approximately 580 km (360 mi) southwest of Yokosuka, located in Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture. At that time, the storm was moving north-northwest at a speed of 25 kph (15 mph) and had maximum sustained winds

EUROPE

Belgium / France / Germany / Luxembourg / Netherlands / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3 / 1 / 2 / 2): As of 26 July 2019, high temperatures have started to drop following a heat wave that swept across Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the United Kingdom and caused transportation disruptions on the previous day. Temperatures rose as high as 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in areas from central France to Germany, while temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and above were recorded across the region. Authorities issued alerts for residents in those countries and various precautionary measures — such as opening fountains, pools and mist machines — were implemented as a means to limit potential effects of the hot weather conditions. Train operators warned commuters to avoid travel, as speed limits were placed on trains and cancellations took place throughout the day due to unsafe rail conditions. Hot air moving north from Africa caused the heat wave.

France (Security threat level – 3): On 26 July 2019, a power failure at Gare du Nord train station in Paris caused the temporary suspension of all high speed trains through the station. Eurostar and Thalys train operators suspended their services as officials worked to restore power at the station. Train services from Brussels, Belgium, London, United Kingdom, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, were affected and Eurostar warned individuals to refrain from non-essential travel to Paris. Additional delays are expected to continue throughout the day. According to a spokesperson of state-owned railway company SNCF, there was no indication that the heat wave that affected the country on the previous day caused the power outage.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): Iberia Airline ground workers at Barcelona El Prat Airport (LEBL/BCN) are expected to observe a strike on 27-28 July 2019 over working conditions at the facility. The strike is expected to affect 27 airlines that operate through the airport, as Iberia Airline ground workers service other airlines. Officials warned that approximately 1,000 flights would be canceled during the strike. Government officials have a minimum services guarantee of 54% of international flights and 32% of domestic flights. Travelers should check with their airlines to determine the status of their flights.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 2): On 26 July 2019, NATS Holdings — the air traffic control operator in the United Kingdom — reported a malfunction to one of its radar systems. The malfunction has caused disruptions to airports across the southern part of the country, including London’s Heathrow Airport (EGLL/LHR) and Gatwick Airport (EGKK/LGW). The air traffic controller stated that it is investigating the issue and is restricting the airspace until the malfunction is resolved. Airport officials have reported significant delays and warned travelers to check with the airlines regarding the status of their flights due to the continuing disruptions.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iran (Security threat level – 3): On 25 July 2019, a U.S. official stated that the Iranian military conducted a Shahab-3 medium-range missile test the previous day. Iranian military officials purportedly launched the missile from the southern part of the country; it traveled approximately 1,100 km (685 mi) before landing east of the capital Tehran. The U.S. official stated that the missile did not pose a threat to Western shipping or military assets in the region. Iranian officials, however, have yet to confirm the test, which comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the Western countries in the Strait of Hormuz.

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): A funeral procession for late President Beji Caid Essebsi is scheduled to take place in the Carthage suburb of the capital Tunis beginning at 1200 local time (1100 UTC) on 27 July 2019. Several foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the procession; as such, enhanced security measures are likely to be in place at Tunis-Carthage International Airport (DTTA/TUN) and elsewhere in the city. Additionally, authorities may impose restrictions on travel in areas near the funeral site in the run-up to and during the procession. Tunisia is observing a seven-day-long national mourning period from 25 July to 1 August. In addition, neighboring countries, including Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania and the Palestinian Territories announced three days of mourning from 25-28 July.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

China (Security threat level – 3): On 26 July 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows: "Location:

  • Yuen Long
  • Central Chater Garden
  • Western District
  • Sheung Wan
  • Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
  • Wan Chai
  • Admiralty
  • Central Government Complex of Hong Kong SAR
  • Tamar Park
  • Hong Kong International Airport

"Event: As of July 26, media report possible protests in Yuen Long on July 27. An ongoing protest through the evening of July 26 at Hong Kong International Airport has not affected the safety or security of airport customers. The airport reports it is operating normally but advises passengers to check their flight status prior to travelling to the airport.

"Over the past two months, protests surrounding proposed changes to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the government’s response have intermittently turned confrontational. The events and confrontations have spilled over into other neighborhoods. There may also be other large gatherings at various locations throughout Hong Kong, including the locations above."

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 26 July 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows: "The FCO now advise against all but essential travel to West Wollega and Qellem Wollega zones in the Oromia region (except the main Addis Ababa-Gambella road) and all areas of Gambella region where advice against travel was not already in place."

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 25 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert regarding demonstrations planned in Bamako for 26 July, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following places in Bamako, Mali:

  • Place CAN in ACI 2000
  • Monument Bougiba

"Events: A demonstration against the presence of foreign security forces in Mali is scheduled to take place July 26th, starting at 1400. The march will go from the Place CAN to the Monument Bougiba. While the demonstrations are intended to be peaceful, recent events have encountered a strong police/security force presence, the use of tear gas, and other riot control measures.

"U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the listed locations on July 26, 2019."

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 26 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Moscow, Russia – Moscow Mayor’s Office, Tverskaya 13

“Event: Protestors plan to gather outside the Moscow Mayor’s office on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 14:00 for an unauthorized demonstration. Heavy police presence is expected.

“Given the possible size of the protest and likely sizeable police presence, U.S. citizens should avoid the protest site.”