State Department issues alert for possible attacks on churches and synagogues in Istanbul

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued its second warning in four days amid fears of a response to the burning of Qurans in Europe.

The State Department on Monday warned U.S. citizens in Turkey of possible terrorist attacks against synagogues, churches and diplomatic missions in Istanbul in retaliation for several recent incidents of Quran burnings in Europe.

In the second security alert in four days, the U.S. embassy said "possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists" could take place in areas frequented by westerners, especially in the city's Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim and Istiklal neighborhoods.

On Friday, several embassies in Ankara, including those of the U.S., Germany, France and Italy, issued security alerts for possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship following several separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Quran, was burned in countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. Ankara issued a travel warning on Saturday for the United States and Europe which warned its citizens against "possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks" in those regions.

The Islamic world was furious when Rasmus Paludan, a Danish activist, was given permission by the police to stage a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, during which he burned a copy of the Quran. Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the anti-Islamist Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages from a Quran and trampled on them near the Dutch Parliament.