Mumbai airport
Inside the Mumbai International AirportWikimedia commons

The festive season may bring a lot of cheer and get-togethers, but it also means added responsibilities for security officials at airports, railways stations and bus terminals. While several cities around the world such as New York, London, and Paris are witnessing heightened security during the holidays, same is the case with Indian cities.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has alerted all the airports as well as airlines to be extra cautious the next few days and maintain high levels of security due to feared terror attacks.

"New Year celebration functions are being held throughout the country. This is a vulnerable period. Number of instances have occurred in the past also when this period has been chosen by terrorists/antinational elements to perpetrate act of terrorism," the Times of India quoted an alert from BCAS to airports and police officials.

The alert also explains that tight-security needs to be maintained as some Pakistan-based terror group have already warned of attacks in the country and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) too has been urging its supporters to carry out lone-wolf attacks in several parts of the world.

"Perpetrators have initiated attacks by suicide bombing, using improvised explosive device-laden vehicle, stabbing, ramming vehicle into crowd and indiscriminate firing in crowded areas," the alert added.

Apart from asking airports and carriers to "maintain maximum vigil in the run-up to/during the New Year celebrations," the BCAS has also listed several measures to maintain security. A few of these measures include strict monitoring of entry and exit points, thorough checking of vehicles, enhanced screening of passengers, staff and visitors, physical checking of hand baggage, thorough checking of cargo, catering and mails, as well as behaviour detection.

Meanwhile, similar restrictions have been put in place in several cities around the world for the festive season after ISIS warned of attacks during Christmas and New Year celebrations. The terror group had earlier released a propaganda image which shows Santa Claus on the roof of a building overlooking the Times Square. Next to Santa is a box of dynamite and the caption reads: "We meet at Christmas in New York... soon."

The terror group has threatened to carry out attacks across Europe over the holidays and also released a few similar posters. The group's other targets seem to be London's Regent Street and Paris' Eiffel Tower, both decked up in Christmas lights, reported the Daily Mail.

These posters also show a crowd of revellers at Christmas markets in various places in UK, France and Germany and carry the caption: "Soon on your holidays," written in English, French and German. ISIS also seems to be aiming to attack the Vatican in Rome and one of the posters shows a terrorist armed with a rocket launcher overlooking the St Peter's Square in the Vatican.