US warns citizens to avoid Lebanon

WASHINGTON- US citizens should avoid traveling to Lebanon, the State Department said Monday in a travel warning two days after a US embassy group was attacked by Lebanese youth.
"The Department of State continues to urge US citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due to current safety and security concerns," the warning said.

"US citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks," it said.
On Saturday, Lebanese youths threw stones and bottles at a US embassy group that was visiting the southern port town of Sidon. There were no injuries and the group returned to the embassy in Beirut.
South Lebanon is the heartland of the country's Shiite Hezbollah militia, and saw heavy fighting in the short but sharp summer war of 2006 between the group and Israeli forces.
Lebanese security forces accompanying the US group intervened, but stones continued to be thrown, breaking car windows. The army then arrived and arrested three of the attackers, officials said.
"The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence is real," the travel warning said.
"Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly. Access to borders, airports, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning."
The ability of US government personnel to provide emergency services "may at times be severely limited."
The State Department, which issued a similar warning last October, also cautioned US citizens about kidnappings.
It noted that seven Estonian bicyclists were kidnapped in the Bekaa Valley on March 23. The event was "pre-planned and well coordinated," the warning said.

Tuesday, April 5th 2011

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