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U.S. State Department Urges Americans Not To Travel To Lebanon Amid Ongoing War

The U.S. Department of State warned Americans on Tuesday not to visit Lebanon amid the intensifying Israel-Hamas war.

On Oct. 7, Hamas — a militant group located in Gaza — launched a massive attack on Israel. Israel retaliated and launched airstrikes at the blockaded territory in what is now the deadliest of the five Gaza wars on both sides, with hundreds of thousands displaced, thousands killed and injured, and dozens held captive.

The Lebanon-Israeli border has experienced acts of violence amid the ongoing war, including back-and-forth shellings between Israeli soldiers and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters, a group that has threatened to enter the war.

The department raised travel to Lebanon to a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” due to “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and [Hezbollah] or other armed militant factions,” according to the advisory.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Lebanon. Terrorists may conduct attacks with little or no warning targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” the advisory wrote.

“The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence. Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning.”

Protests have also erupted in Lebanon, as well as in neighboring Mideast countries, following a strike on a Gaza hospital that killed thousands of people, and have resulted in clashes between protestors and security forces.

The advisory included a list of steps Americans should consider if they decide to travel to Lebanon, including avoiding demonstrations and crowds, monitoring local media for updates and reviewing Lebanon’s security report.

Thousands of Americans were stuck in Israel after flights were abruptly halted on Oct. 7 when Hamas first attacked. As of Tuesday, over 6,000 U.S. citizens have successfully left Israel and the West Bank, the State Department told The Washington Post.

The Department authorized voluntary and temporary departure on Tuesday from U.S. Embassy Beirut for family members of the U.S. government personnel, as well as some non-emergency personnel, because of unpredictable security in Lebanon, according to the advisory.

The Lebanon travel advisory follows a week after the Department also raised its advisory to Israel and the West Bank to a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” The Lebanon borders of Israel and Syria, as well as refugee settlements have also been listed in the Department’s travel advisory as a “Level 4: Do Not Travel.”

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