Israel issues travel warning for restive areas of Ethiopia
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Israel issues travel warning for restive areas of Ethiopia

In second such advisory in weeks, Foreign Ministry urges nationals to stay away from Amhara and Oromia regions

People march during an annual religious festival in Bishoftu, a town southeast of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (AP Photo)
People march during an annual religious festival in Bishoftu, a town southeast of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (AP Photo)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised its nationals to stay away from regions of Ethiopia at the center of protests against the Addis Ababa government, in the second such warning since the start of September.

As with the previous travel warning, Jerusalem advised Israeli travelers to avoid the Amhara and Oromia districts, which include the cities of Gondar, Bahir Dar and Debre Tabor.

The ministry also repeated its warning to refrain from traveling within 10 kilometers of the Ethiopian borders with Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya.

On Sunday, dozens of people were crushed to death in a stampede in Oromia, after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an anti-government protest that grew out of a massive religious festival, witnesses said. The Oromia regional government confirmed the death toll at 52.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Ethiopian parliament in Addis Ababa, on July 7, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Ethiopian parliament in Addis Ababa, on July 7, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Oromia is one of the East African country’s most politically sensitive regions, and has seen months of sometimes deadly demonstrations demanding wider freedoms.

Ethiopia’s government, a close security ally of the West, has been accused often of silencing dissent, at times blocking internet access.

The months of anti-government protests and the sometimes harsh government response have raised international concern. The US recently spoke out against what it called the excessive use of force against protesters, describing the situation in Ethiopia as “extremely serious.”

Israel’s population includes some 135,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in 1984 and 1992. Since then, another 50,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel.

AP contributed to this report.

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