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U.S. cautions Americans around the globe

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department warned U.S. citizens around the world Thursday of the "heightened threat" of terrorist acts against Americans.

The "worldwide caution" warned of suicide bombings, assassinations, and the "growing threat" of the use of chemical and biological agents.

"Private Americans should remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and exercise caution," the notice said. "The Department of State reminds Americans that U.S. citizens and interests are at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks."

Warnings are often issued for travel in specific countries. Thursday's global travel warning replaces one issued in November.

The warning says that because of tightened security within the United States, terrorists may target U.S. interests overseas, focusing on "softer targets." Those targets include places where Americans and Westerners are known to congregate -- such as clubs, restaurants, schools, places of worship, hotels and beaches -- where security is not as tight.

"Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, assassinations or kidnappings," the warning says. "While conventional weapons such as explosive devices pose a more immediate threat in many areas overseas, terrorist use of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents, must be considered a growing threat."

It urges Americans to avoid demonstrations overseas. The warning expires May 4.

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