released April 21, 2005, this information is current as of
Thursday, June 02, 2005. Travel
Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that
Americans avoid a certain country.
This Travel Warning is being issued to update information on threats
to American citizens and interests in Lebanon. It supersedes the
Travel Warning for Lebanon issued November 18, 2004.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully weigh
the necessity of their travel to Lebanon in light of the risks
noted below. U.S. citizens in Lebanon are encouraged to register
with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut where they may also obtain updated
information on travel and security in Lebanon. See registration
Recent events in Lebanon underscore the need for caution and sound
personal security precautions. Former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri
was assassinated February 14, 2005, in a car bomb attack in which
at least 19 other people were killed and many others seriously
wounded. Syria subsequently pledged to withdraw from Lebanon. Protests
related to these events, including against the U.S. Embassy, continue
in Beirut and other cities; there remains the potential for violent
clashes. In addition, four late-night bombings north of Beirut
occurred in March and April, resulting in at least three deaths.
Americans have been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks
in Lebanon. The perpetrators of many of these attacks are still
present and retain the ability to act. American citizens should
thus keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required
travel. Americans should also pay close attention to their personal
security at locations where Westerners are generally known to congregate,
and should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
On April 8, U.S. Embassy officials visiting Hermel in the northern
Bekaa Valley encountered a violent protest. The U.S. Government
considers the potential threat to U.S. Government personnel assigned
to Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work
under a strict security regime. This limits, and may occasionally
prevent, the movement of U.S. Embassy officials in certain areas
of the country. These factors, plus limited staffing, may hinder
timely assistance to Americans in Lebanon. Unofficial travel to
Lebanon by U.S. Government employees and their family members requires
prior approval by the Department of State.
U.S. citizens who travel to Lebanon despite this Travel Warning
should exercise heightened caution when traveling in parts of the
southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley and South
Lebanon, and the cities of Sidon and Tripoli. Hizballah has not
been disarmed and it maintains a strong presence in many of these
areas, and there is potential for action by other extremist groups
in the city of Tripoli.
American air carriers are prohibited from using Beirut International
Airport (BIA) due to continuing concern about airport and aircraft
security arrangements. For similar reasons, the Lebanese carrier
Middle East Airlines (MEA) is not permitted to operate service
into the United States. Official U.S. government travelers exercise
additional security measures when using Beirut International Airport.
Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and
the U.S. operate largely autonomously inside refugee camps in different
areas of the country. Intra communal violence within the camps
has resulted in violent incidents such as shootings and explosions.
Travel by U.S. citizens to Palestinian camps should be avoided.
Asbat al-Ansar, a terrorist group with apparent links to Al-Qaida,
has targeted Lebanese, U.S. and other foreign government interests.
It has been outlawed by the Lebanese government but continues to
maintain a presence in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.
Dangers posed by landmines and unexploded ordnance throughout
south Lebanon are significant and also exist in other areas where
civil war fighting was intense. Travelers should be aware of posted
landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines
and unexploded ordnance may be present. Tensions remain in Lebanon's
southern border with the possibility of Hizballah and Palestinian
militant activity at any time.
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://www.usembassy.gov.lb or by phone at the above telephone
numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
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 the Travel
Publication A Safe Trip Abroad, all of which are available on the
Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.
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