State Department Issues Warning to Americans on Travel in Middle East

The State Department today issued a warning to American tourists and others planning “unnecessary trips” to the Middle East, advising them against travel “in or through” that area, particularly to Lebanon and Iraq, unless the trip was imperative.

Israel was not mentioned specifically in the official statement, but a State Department official said that Israel was considered a part of the Middle East. State Department spokesman Lincoln White described the warning as “a general caution.”

Mr. White said that 288 Americans are in Israel on official business at this time and 5,800 are there unofficially. In Jerusalem, he said, 50 Americans are present officially and 900 are there unofficially. Mr. White gave these figures along with similar statistics on Americans in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern states.

The official State Department announcement said: “In view of the implications of the situation in regard to personal safety and security of United States citizens now obtaining in the Middle East, the State Department is instructing its overseas posts and the passport office to alert American tourists and others who may be traveling in or through the Middle East of the situation there and to advise them against such travel, particularly to Lebanon and Iraq, unless imperative.”

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