Citing a “complex” security environment, the US State Department re-issued a travel warning Wednesday night for US citizens planning to travel in Israel, and for Jerusalem in particular. It urged US citizens and diplomatic personnel to avoid the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and certain areas of Area A in the West Bank.
“The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza,” the State Department said. “US citizens need to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to areas…where there are heightened tensions and security risks.” The advisory warned that even though Israel and the Palestinian Authority take precautions to secure popular tourist sites, “these efforts are not 100 percent effective.” American citizens in Gaza were urged to leave as soon as possible and the advisory reminded US government employees they are not allowed to travel to the Gaza Strip for business or personal reasons. Government employees are also forbidden from taking public transportation and need prior approval to travel near the Sea of Galilee, on Highway 98 in the Golan Heights and anywhere south of Beersheba. The advisory replaces prior guidelines issued on February 18.
Last month Massachusetts native Ezra Schwartz was killed in an attack by a Palestinian gunman in the Gush Etzion cluster of Jewish settlements between Jerusalem and Hebron.
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