The State Department says it is authorizing the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh.

The move, effective on Sunday and made public Monday, follows a spate of militant attacks in the Muslim-majority, South Asian country.

A department official said the authorization means family members can opt to leave the capital Dhaka in the coming days and their expenses are covered. The official said the embassy recommended this step to ensure that people are not caught in potential outbreaks of violence.

The measure does not cover embassy staff.

The official was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

On July 1, a restaurant popular with foreigners was attacked and 20 hostages — including one American — were killed.