BEIRUT — The United States Embassy in Beirut urged Americans in Lebanon Sunday to avoid hotels, Western-style shopping malls, grocery stores and social events where US citizens congregate, saying such sites are likely targets for terrorist attacks.

The embassy made the recommendations in a security message to Americans in Lebanon. The statement followed a recent spate of bombings and shootings in the capital, Beirut, and other parts of Lebanon.

The violence is linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria, which has sent sectarian tensions soaring in Lebanon as Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites line up behind their brethren in the conflict next door.

In the past week and a half alone, two deadly bombings have hit Beirut, killing at least a dozen people.