The U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide travel caution alert for overseas American citizens on Thursday due to the growing tensions and violence around the world. The notification stated that there is a potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and their interests.
US State Dept. issues worldwide caution travel alert due to growing violence
The alert mentioned that Americans should stay extra careful in places popular among tourists around the world. The notice asked citizens to enroll in the State Department’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” to receive information and alerts so it can be easier to locate them in an emergency overseas.
The alert didn’t specifically mention any particular global event or conflict. However, it comes at a time when there is an ongoing conflict in the Middle East. This conflict started when the Palestinian group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. In response, Israel carried out air strikes in Gaza. These events have led to a significant loss of life in the region.
The notice also comes at a time when Joe Biden is visiting Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the IDF continues its military response in Gaza.
Following Biden’s visit to Israel, tensions escalated as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued its military response in Gaza, the Independent reported. On October 7, Hamas initiated an attack that resulted in the reported deaths of approximately 2,000 Israelis. In response, the IDF launched counterattacks that displaced over a million Palestinians and led to the reported deaths of more than 3,785 Gazans, according to data from the Gaza health ministry.
US officials, including Biden, have sided with the IDF and publicly stated their belief that Hamas was responsible for the hospital attack.
Dept. issues warning for people traveling to Lebanon, Israel
Earlier this week, the State Department made a strong warning about traveling to Lebanon, CNBC reported. They advised American citizens not to go there because of the uncertain security situation. This is because there have been incidents where rockets, missiles, and artillery have been fired between Israel and groups like Hezbollah in the region. The department has also issued the highest level of warning for Lebanon and Israel and has authorized non-emergency US government personnel and family members to depart.
According to CNN, in August 2022 in the wake of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the State Dept had given a warning that “supporters of al- Qa’ida, or its affiliated terrorist organizations, may seek to attack U.S. facilities, personnel, or citizens.”
The State Department is also giving guidance to U.S. citizens who want to leave places like Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. They’re asking these citizens to fill out a special form if they need assistance during this crisis. The White House and the US State Dept. did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.