/Americans warned to avoid Jerusalem

Americans warned to avoid Jerusalem

Published on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Americans are being advised to avoid Jerusalem as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip due to increased tension in the Middle East.

In a new travel advisory, the US government said Americans who do visit the area should exercise caution.

It mentioned no specific threat, only the heightened US-Iran tensions following tit-for-tat missile attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages US citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the advisory said.

“In the event of mortar or rocket fire, a red alert siren may be activated. Treat all such alerts as real. Follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately. Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space,” it added.

The UK Foreign Office is also warning of increased tensions in the region, but it is not advising against travel to Israel, which has been chosen by The Travel Network Group as the location for its overseas conference later this year.

A record number of Britons went to Israel last year, which saw an 11% increase in overall visitors.

It said: “Following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on 3 January, the incident has led to increased tensions in the region. 

“There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests and the security situation could worsen with little warning. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice.

“The security situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be fast moving, tense and unpredictable. You should be vigilant at all times and keep up to date with local media and travel reports.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned US airlines from flying over Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, with other aviation regulators around the world doing the same. The advisory was issued prior to the crash of a Ukraine Airlines’ flight in Tehran this morning.

“The Federal Aviation Administration outlines flight restrictions that prohibit US civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman,” the agency said.

Other international carriers, including Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and Qantas have also been ordered to avoid the affected airspace.

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