US issues security alert for American travelers in Israel, West Bank and Gaza amid Middle East tension

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is cautioning U.S. citizens to be vigilant in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza on account of “heightened tension in the Middle East,” according to a security alert posted Monday on its website.

Iranian state TV reported Tuesday that at least 40 people were killed and 213 injured in a stampede that erupted at a funeral procession for the nation’s slain Gen. Qasem Soleimani in his hometown of Kerman, in southeastern Iran.

Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike order by President Donald Trump.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the security alert from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem reads.

The alert also says that a red alert siren could be activated if mortar or rocket fire occurs, and that such alerts should be treated as real.

It advises citizens to be aware of surroundings, stay alert in tourist-heavy areas, listen to local authorities and pay attention to the State Department’s website.

The State Department lists Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as areas with a “level 2” security risk, meaning travelers should exercises increased caution. The travel alert was last updated on Dec. 28, 2018.

“The Embassy will continue to review the security situation and will provide additional information as needed,” the security alert concludes.

 

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