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Middle East Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Apr 12, 2002

This Public Announcement is being updated to alert Americans to large demonstrations and other incidents, some of them violent, taking place throughout the region in response to the increased tensions and conflict in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the last few weeks. American Embassy dependents located at several posts in the region have been authorized to depart voluntarily as a result of increased tensions. It is possible that further posts may authorize such departures. This Public Announcement supersedes the Public Announcement of February 14, 2002. This Public Announcement expires on October 8, 2002.

The Department of State is concerned about the potential for further violent responses in the region and elsewhere due to the ongoing crisis in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. These have included demonstrations with anti-American sentiment.

As always, the Department of State reminds Americans to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. As stated in the Department's Worldwide Caution Public Announcement of March 17, 2002, U.S. citizens and interests abroad remain at increased risk of terrorist attacks, including by groups with links to Usama Bin Ladin's Al-Qaida organization. These individuals do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. The Department of State has unconfirmed reports that American citizens may be targeted for kidnapping or other terrorist actions. In late January 2002, an American journalist was taken hostage and murdered in Pakistan.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. Facilities have closed and will continue to temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review their security posture and ensure its adequacy. On occasion, the travel of official personnel at embassies and consulates around the world may be restricted, and these posts may recommend that private American citizens avoid the same areas if at all possible. Services to American citizens could be impaired if employees' movements are restricted. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens. American citizens in need of emergency assistance should telephone the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before visiting there.

U.S. citizens planning to travel abroad should consult the Department of State's Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets, Fact Sheets, and regional travel brochures, all of which are available at the Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens overseas may contact the American Citizen Services unit of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate by telephone or fax for up-to-date information on security conditions.

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