Washington, Oct 17 (EFE).- The United States on Tuesday urged its citizens not to travel to Lebanon while authorizing the departure of some family members of US government staff and non-emergency personnel from the country due to the “unpredictable security situation.”
“Do Not travel to Lebanon due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hizballah or other armed militant factions,” the US department of state said in its latest travel advisory for Lebanon.
Protests erupted in several parts of Lebanon on Tuesday night against the bombing of a Gaza hospital earlier in the day that left more than 500 dead.
Protesters also clashed with Lebanese security forces outside the US embassy in Awkar, east of Beirut.
The Lebanese military had blocked all roads leading to the embassy with barbed wire and tightened security ahead of a planned demonstration, the official National News Agency (NNA) reported.
Protesters, many of them carrying Palestinian flags, threw stones and Molotov cocktails that sparked a fire near the embassy.
“Large demonstrations have erupted in the wake of recent violence in Israel and Gaza. US citizens should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests as some of these have turned violent,” the US state department said.
“Protesters have blocked major roads, including thoroughfares between downtown Beirut and the area where the US Embassy is located, and between Beirut and Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport,” it added.
The department urged Americans to reconsider travel to Lebanon due to “terrorism, civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, kidnapping, and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to US citizens” against sudden outbreaks of violence.
“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Lebanon. Terrorists may conduct attacks with little or no warning targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” it added.
The department said that US citizens who decided to travel to Lebanon should be aware that embassy staff may not always be able to travel to assist them.
Those living and working in the country “should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and review their personal security plans,” it added. EFE