The State Department issued a reminder Thursday to Americans at home and abroad to remain vigilant due to a heightened threat of terrorist actions.

The worldwide caution also reminds Americans living or traveling overseas to avoid demonstrations, and provides standard preparedness advice.

There was no direct reference to Iraq, although the statement was issued a day after Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council that Iraq is failing to disarm, increasing the likelihood of a military strike.

The statement essentially repeats advice given at the time of the last worldwide caution, on Nov. 20.

"The Department of State reminds Americans that U.S. citizens and interests are at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks by groups with links to Al Qaeda," the statement said.

"Terrorist attacks may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, suicide operations, assassinations or kidnappings.

It added that conventional weapons such as explosive devices pose a more immediate threat in many areas overseas, "terrorist use of nonconventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents, must be considered a growing threat."