US State Department issues 'worldwide caution' travel alert to overseas citizens

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Oct 2023

The U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide caution alert advising U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution due to mounting tensions around the world, warning of potential terrorist attacks, demonstrations and violent actions against Americans.

State Department
US State Department building in Washington, DC. AP


"The U.S. government is facilitating charter flight transportation for U.S. citizens; we urge those wishing to leave to take advantage of these charters while they are available," a statement by the State Department said, advising U.S citizens to head toward Ben Gurion International Airport, Terminal 3 if they wish to depart Israel.

Flight departures from Ben Gurion International Airport will continue up to at least Sunday, October 22, the statement added.

"U.S. Embassy personnel will be present to direct you and provide specific flight information.  Be prepared to wait."

Some U.S. citizens have successfully departed the West Bank and Israel into Jordan via border crossings, including Sheikh Hussein and Allenby Bridge, the State Department confirmed.

"We encourage U.S. citizens to take advantage of those options if possible and safe to do so."

Along the same lines, the State Department called on American citizens residing in Lebanon to make "appropriate arrangements" if they are to leave the country, stressing that U.S. citizens choosing not to leave must prepare "contingency plans" to be ready for any emergencies.

"If you have not already done so, please complete the crisis intake form to provide contact information should we need to reach out to you on short notice. to provide contact information should we need to reach out to you on short notice."

On Tuesday, the State Department raised its travel advisory for Lebanon from level three to four -- the highest level available, and authorised non-essential embassy personnel and their families to leave.

Similarly, London and Berlin advised their citizens on Thursday to leave Lebanon as border tensions between Israel and Hezbollah intensified over Israel's war on Gaza.

"If you are currently in Lebanon, we encourage you to leave now while commercial options remain available," the British embassy said, urging its nationals to "exercise caution".

Germany's foreign office also asked citizens to "leave Lebanon" in a statement warning that border clashes "can escalate further at any time" and advising its nationals to "use existing commercial travel options to leave the country safely".

France, Canada, Australia and Spain have also warned against travel to Lebanon.

The announcements come after an Israeli hospital strike killed more than 470 Palestinian civilians on Tuesday. The Baptist hospital in Gaza City housed displaced people seeking shelter from near-constant air strikes on the coastal territory.

Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have since been trading daily cross-border fire with Israel, which has launched round-the-clock air strikes on Gaza, killing at least 3,700 people, mostly civilians, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The grisly bombardment comes after Hamas launched a massive October 7 assault on southern Israel, killing over 1,400 people.

Israel has since imposed a complete siege on Gaza, stopping water, food and electricity from reaching about 2.3 million Palestinians.

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