In the aftermath of recent Hamas attacks on Israel, the US State Department has issued a recommendation for Americans to reconsider their travel plans to Israel.
Additionally, the travel advisory for the West Bank has been upgraded to level 3, signifying a need for increased caution, while the advisory for Gaza remains at the highest level, designated as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” according to ANI.
As stated in the official statement from the department, “On October 11, 2023, the Department of State raised the Travel Advisory Level for Israel and the West Bank to Level 3 – Reconsider Travel. The Travel Advisory for Gaza remains at Level 4 – Do Not Travel. This supersedes the previous Travel Advisory issued on October 3, 2023.”
The department elevated the travel advisory to level 3 due to ongoing threats posed by terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists, and other violent extremists actively planning potential attacks in Israel, as well as in the West Bank and Gaza.
The statement emphasizes that “Terrorists and violent extremists may launch attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist destinations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.”
Violent incidents can occur in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza without prior warning, with a noticeable increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some of which happen with minimal advance notice, as indicated in the updated travel advisory.
The advisory advises individuals to heed the guidance of security and emergency response officials.
Regarding air travel, the advisory notes that “While Ben Gurion International Airport remains open, we are aware that several major airlines have announced flight suspensions. Please check with the airlines regarding flight availability and status. US citizens in Gaza who can safely depart are advised to monitor the status of the Rafah Crossing into Egypt.”
On October 7, a significant escalation occurred when Hamas launched a sudden assault on Israel, launching a barrage of rockets into the southern and central regions of the country.
On Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, the spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), reported that 1,200 Israelis had lost their lives, with over 2,700 individuals sustaining injuries. He emphasized that Israeli soldiers remain prepared to carry out their mission in Gaza.
While the US administration remains committed to assisting Israel and deploying military resources to the area, various US government agencies are collaborating discreetly to gain a precise understanding of the on-ground situation.
During a recent meeting with representatives from the Jewish community at the White House, President Joe Biden reaffirmed his strong commitment to hostage rescue operations. He stressed that although the administration is actively addressing the crisis, specific details cannot be disclosed to ensure the safety of those involved.
Biden issued a clear warning to Iran, urging them to exercise caution in their regional activities following the Hamas attack on Israel. He mentioned, “The US is surging additional military assistance to the Israeli Defense Force, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome. We have moved the US carrier fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and are sending more fighter jets to that region. We have made it clear to the Iranians to be cautious.”