State Department Urges Americans in Lebanon to ‘Leave Now’

State Department Urges Americans in Lebanon to ‘Leave Now’
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to other speakers during the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy launch at the State Department in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023 (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The State Department is urging all Americans in Lebanon to “leave now” while commercial flight options remain available, amid growing tensions in the region due to Hezbollah’s sustained attacks on Israel from across its northern border with Lebanon.

In an Oct. 22 update, the government department recommended “that U.S. citizens who choose not to depart prepare contingency plans for emergency situations.”

To the best of its knowledge, the State Department believes there are still commercial flights available, but warned there is reduced capacity on the planes. Citizens who want to depart with government assistance must express their interest via a crisis intake form.

Israel has been targeting against Hezbollah infrastructure and armed personnel in Lebanon as the Iran-backed terrorist group has continued persistent attacks on Israeli settlements in the north.

Israeli soldiers stand near a Merkava tank as they man a position at an undisclosed location on the border with Lebanon on Oct. 21, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel has said Hezbollah’s presence in the demilitarized zone to the south of the Litani River is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

“This area is supposed to be free from illegal weapons, which is U.N. language for Hezbollah weapons,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said. “They’re not even supposed to be there, but they clearly are. They have freedom of movement. They have taken many opportunities to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers.”

Israel has accused Iran of having ordered the cross-border attacks on its territories.

Unpredictable Security Situation

In a follow-up post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the State Department said its recommendation for Americans to leave the region is the result of the “unpredictable security situation.”

The State Department has already raised its travel alert for Lebanon to “do not travel.” Family members of government personnel and non-emergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in the Lebanon capital, Beirut, have authorization for voluntary, temporary departure as well.

Due to increased tensions in various locations worldwide, the State Department has also warned Americans abroad, citing the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against citizens. It urges all American citizens to stay alert and watch for updates on the unfolding situation in the Middle East.

The latest round of Mideast violence began on Oct. 7, when the Gaza-based Hamas group carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel. The attack and the daily rocket attacks since have left at least 1,400 Israeli soldiers and civilians dead.

The ongoing retaliation air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip by Israel have killed over 4,000 people and wounded at least another 14,000. However, the IDF said it has identified roughly 550 failed rocket launches fired by Hamas, and it’s unclear how many of the reported deaths are due to the faulty rockets.

Gazan civilians continue to be urged by Israel to evacuate south of Gaza City away from Hamas locations and hideouts. It is estimated that around 1.2 million people have been displaced in Gaza, and about 200,000 people displaced in Israel.

Israel Urges Lebanese Govt to Consider What It Wants In Its Future

In an Oct. 21 update, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserve Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus condemned Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers from across the border.

He accused Hezbollah of escalating the situation steadily over the last few days with various types of weapons, calling it a “dangerous game.”

Mr. Conricus called on the Lebanese government and everyone in Lebanon to consider the long term consequences of allowing Hezbollah to continue striking at Israel from within Lebanese territory.

“It should be stated and noted in the record that Israel has not been aggressing along the blue line, that we have been defending ourselves only, and that Hezbollah is the one that is aggressing. And of course, the state of Lebanon is responsible for everything that happens in its territory,” he said.

Israeli soldiers practice firing their rifles in a field close to the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Oct. 23, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)

“Is the Lebanese state really willing to jeopardize what is left of Lebanese prosperity and Lebanese sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza, for the ISIS of Gaza,” he said.

“That is a question the Lebanese authorities need to ask themselves and answer. Because the way it’s looking now, Hezbollah is aggressing and dragging Lebanon into a war that it will gain nothing from but stands to lose a lot. ”

The Epoch Times contacted the government of Lebanon for comment but did not hear back by time of publication.

From The Epoch Times

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