Thursday, January 08, 2009

U.S. Department of State Issues Travel Warning for Israel

On January 6, 2009 the Department of State alerts U.S. citizens that the Israel Defense Force (IDF) is engaged in a military operation against terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. This operation began on December 27, 2008, with aerial and naval bombardment, and expanded on January 3, 2009, to include ground operations. Since the December 19, 2008, expiration of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, terrorist organizations have launched ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into southern Israel. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens traveling to and within Israel and the West Bank to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. No official U.S. Government travel is permitted within the Gaza Strip. Due to the ongoing conflict and limited ability of the U.S. Government to assist American citizens in the Gaza Strip, the Department of State urges American citizens, including journalists and aid workers, to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2009.

Americans in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza should be vigilant about security at all times. They should monitor local news, vary their routes and times, and consider the level of security when visiting crowded public places, such as shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, or entertainment venues. Some American citizens in Gaza and their immediate family members were assisted in departing Gaza on January 2, 2009. American citizens remaining in Gaza should consider notifying the Consulate General in Jerusalem at the address below of their whereabouts in the event they wish to participate in possible future evacuations of foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip.

American citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and register with the Department of State or U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/U.S. Consulate Jerusalem through the State Department's travel registration website, By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy and the Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is located at 27 Nablus Road, Jerusalem 94190.

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