State Department warns Americans on Israel travel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. State Department warned American citizens to defer non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank.

The warning issued Monday also reaffirmed the “longstanding strong warning” to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip. It was reissued due to the “current conflict between Hamas and Israel.”

U.S. government employees are not allowed to conduct official or personal travel to Gaza, according to the State Department.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is operating at reduced staffing and its consular section is providing only emergency services during the current unrest in Israel and Gaza, the State Department said. The consulate in Jerusalem is operating as normal.

“In light of the ongoing rocket attacks, U.S. citizen visitors to and U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site, if available,” the warning stressed.

“Travelers should avoid areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip due to the real risks presented by small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars, as attacks from Gaza can come with little or no warning.”

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