U.S. warns nationals against traveling to Lebanon

U.S. warns nationals against traveling to Lebanon
# 18 September 2012 02:26 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The State Department of the United States on Monday warned its citizens against traveling to Lebanon, citing the potential upsurge in violence in the Middle East country, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

In an updated travel warning, it urged Americans to "avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns, " warning "The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains."

Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the travel warning was not timed to coincide with the anti-American demonstrations in Lebanon and in the region sparked by a U.S.-made film that insults Prophet Mohammed. It was updated to cover the suspension of the Fullbright and English Language program in the current academic year in Lebanon, she added.

The agency said some extremist groups operate in Lebanon including Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group branded by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.

"U.S. citizens have been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist in Lebanon," the agency said, adding "Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly."

The department also pointed to the "numerous security incidents " in the border regions with Syria, a country that has been plunged into turmoil in the past 18 months.

The current wave of violence against U.S. and Western targets in some 20 countries have resulted in at least 19 deaths, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff, who died when the U.S. consulate building in Benghazi in eastern Libya came under attack on the night of Sept. 11.
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