The U.S. State Department has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations.
In a Travel Warning update issued on Monday, it urged U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
American citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea, as the security environment within the territory, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile.
Americans were reminded that the Israeli Government has announced its intention to seek ten-year travel bans to Israel for anyone participating in an attempt to enter Gaza by sea.
As a result of possible Israeli military operations in Gaza and the ever-present risk of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel from Gaza, U.S. government personnel traveling in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip boundary, to include the city of Sderot, have been cautioned to make prior notification to the Embassy's Regional Security Office.
The State Department urged U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. Travel restrictions may be imposed by the Israeli Government with little or no warning.
U.S. Government personnel and family members are permitted both official and personal travel on Route 443 between Modi'in and Jerusalem. All other personal travel in the West Bank, unless specifically authorized for mission-approved purposes, is prohibited.
Israeli authorities remain concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens are cautioned that a greater danger may exist around restaurants, businesses, and other places associated with U.S. interests and/or located near U.S. official buildings, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.
U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel or the West Bank have been advised to read the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information sheet. U.S. citizens in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are strongly encouraged to enroll with the Consular Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
by RTT Staff Writer
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