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US government bans employees from Jerusalem’s Old City

Security message in wake of Palestinian terror attacks also advises American citizens to ‘consider’ heeding same restriction

American Jewish singer Matisyahu performs at the Sacred Music Festival in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 4, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa)
American Jewish singer Matisyahu performs at the Sacred Music Festival in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 4, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa)

The US government on Sunday barred its employees from entering Jerusalem’s Old City, hours after two Israelis were stabbed to death there by a Palestinian man, and three more Israelis were injured.

It also recommend that all US citizens “take into consideration” this restriction.

In a security message warning of “Potential for Violence and Unrest in and Around Jerusalem Old City,” the State Department noted: “Due to heightened security conditions and the potential for violence in the Old City, US government employees are restricted from entering the Old City from Sunday, October 4 through Tuesday, October 6 without prior approval from the U.S. Consulate.”

It also barred government employees from going into the West Bank “for other than Mission-critical business, subject to approval of the U.S. Consulate.” It said personal travel to Jericho and Bethlehem, though still allowed, “must be approved by the US Consulate in advance.”

The message also recommended that private US citizens “take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank when making decisions regarding their travel in the Old City and in Jerusalem.”

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