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Lebanon Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jun 13, 2007

This Travel Warning alerts American citizens to the ongoing fighting and political tensions in Lebanon and advises them of safety and security concerns. The Department of State continues strongly to urge that Americans defer travel to Lebanon, and that American citizens in Lebanon consider carefully the risks of remaining. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on December 22, 2006.

This warning alerts U.S. citizens to the renewed threat of attacks against western and Lebanese government interests by the extremist group Fatah Al-Islam. Similar threats also were made by the militant groups Jund Al-Sham and Al-Qaeda. The Department of State remains concerned about the personal safety and security of American citizens as the fighting continues at the Nahr El-Barad refugee camp. Sporadic fighting also has occurred outside several other refugee camps. U.S. citizens who visit refugee camps in Lebanon risk becoming trapped during hostilities. On June 7, a bomb exploded in the town of Zouk Mousbeh, north of Beirut. This was the fifth small-scale bomb attack in greater Beirut in recent weeks and follows the June 7 discovery of explosives-laden vehicles in eastern Lebanon. Since May 20, explosions have occurred in the Beirut neighborhoods of Achrafieh and Verdun, the Beirut suburb of Sad Al-Bouchrieh, and the resort town of Aley. The possibility of related episodes of violence in popular districts of Beirut and other tourist areas in Lebanon remains high.

The Department continues strongly to urge that Americans defer travel to Lebanon, and that American citizens already in Lebanon consider carefully the risks of remaining. Americans who remain in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance; take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness; confirm that passports and U.S. travel documents for themselves and for family members are up-to-date; and be alert to any deterioration of the security situation.

In a crisis situation, U.S. citizens are responsible for arranging commercial or private means of transportation to depart Lebanon. If evacuation is warranted, only when all other transportation options are unavailable will the U.S. government assist U.S. citizens in leaving a country. This service will be provided on a cost-recovery basis. The lack of valid travel documents will slow the U.S. embassys ability to provide assistance. Further information on the departments role during emergencies is provided at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html.

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country. Unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the department of state.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of Lebanon where civil war fighting was intense. More than a dozen civilians have been killed and over 100 injured by unexploded ordnance following the armed conflict in July-August 2006. Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.

The embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. Public access hours for American citizens are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. however; American citizens who require emergency services outside of these hours may contact the embassy by telephone at any time. The telephone numbers are (961-4) 542-600, 543-600, and fax 544-209. American citizens may register with the embassy online by visiting https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. Information on consular services and registration can also be found at http://beirut.usembassy.gov or by phone at the above telephone numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday local time.

Updated information on travel and security in Lebanon may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. Additional details can be found in the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Lebanon, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the Middle East and North Africa public announcement and "A Safe Trip Abroad," all of which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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