US warns travelers to ‘exercise increased caution’ in Israel
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US warns travelers to ‘exercise increased caution’ in Israel

State Department advisory cautions American citizens that ‘violence can occur in Jerusalem and the West Bank without warning’

Israeli border guards advance down a street during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 9, 2018, against a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Israeli border guards advance down a street during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 9, 2018, against a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

JTA — The US State Department called on travelers to “exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism.”

In an email to citizens registered to its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, the State Department noted that the security level of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is at Level 2: Exercise Extreme Caution.

The security warning states that travelers should not travel to Gaza due to “terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.” It also recommends that travelers reconsider travel to the West Bank due to “terrorism, potentially violent civil unrest, and the potential for armed conflict.”

The warning continues: “Terrorist groups and lone-wolf terrorists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Jerusalem and the West Bank without warning.”

US government personnel can travel freely in Israel, except to areas in close proximity to Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Their travel is “extremely limited” in the West Bank. They are forbidden to travel to Gaza.

The warning also calls on travelers to maintain a high degree of situational awareness; avoid demonstrations and crowds; and learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter.

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