US warns citizens in Israel to be on high alert


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem warned American citizens in Israel to maintain heightened awareness.

“During the last few months, and in particular over the past several days, there have been a number of attacks in Israel, Jerusalem, and the West Bank that have resulted in injury and death to multiple individuals, including to U.S. citizens,” a security message sent to U.S. citizens in Israel on Wednesday evening read. “Given these recent events and the continuing dynamic security environment in these areas, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem remind U.S. citizens of the need to maintain a high degree of personal situational awareness and to monitor local media for information about breaking events.”

The warning came a day after Taylor Force, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University on a school trip to Israel, was killed in a stabbing attack that wounded as many as 10 people at and near Tel Aviv’s Jaffa Port. Earlier the same day, terror attacks in Jerusalem and central Israel left a haredi Orthodox man and two Israeli Border Police officers seriously injured.

The message said, “In view of the current security environment and the possibility of future attacks,” U.S. government employees are prohibited from visiting Jerusalem’s Old City unless “specifically approved for mission critical travel.”

The prohibition is in place until March 16 and could be extended, the message said.

The message also reminded U.S. citizens “to exercise heightened caution in areas around the Damascus, Lion’s and Herod’s gates to the Old City, as these locations have been the scene of past attacks.”

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