US issues Israel travel warning over terror attacks
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US issues Israel travel warning over terror attacks

Americans urged to ‘be aware of their surroundings at all times,’ face ‘security risks’ in major cities, State Department says

Following the funeral of Ezra Schwartz, 18, an American yeshiva student who was murdered in a Palestinian terror attack in Israel in mid-November, friends carry the slain teen's casket outside Temple Sinai in Sharon, Massachusetts on November 22, 2015. (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)
Following the funeral of Ezra Schwartz, 18, an American yeshiva student who was murdered in a Palestinian terror attack in Israel in mid-November, friends carry the slain teen's casket outside Temple Sinai in Sharon, Massachusetts on November 22, 2015. (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

The US State Department issued a travel warning for American citizens in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Wednesday in light of an ongoing wave of violence now in its third month.

The statement warned Americans of “heightened tensions and security risks” in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa in light of frequent Palestinian terror attacks, which are occurring at a rate unseen in over a decade.

“The security situation can change day to day, depending on the political situation, recent events, and geographic area,” the State Department said. “A rise in political tensions and violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank has resulted in injuries to and deaths of US citizens.”

The State Department noted that since the beginning of 2014, more than a dozen American citizens have been killed or injured in attacks — but doesn’t specify the circumstances of culprits in those attacks.

The most recent such incident occurred last month, when Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American studying in Israel, was killed in a West Bank shooting near the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.

The warning added: “The Department of State also recommends that US citizens maintain a high state of situational awareness, be aware of their surroundings at all times, avoid any unattended items or packages, and report any unusual or suspicious activities or items to police or other security officials.”

American diplomatic officials in the country have been told that they must obtain special permission to travel to certain high-risk areas, the statement said.

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