London issues security alert for Lebanon

LONDON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The British government said Friday it was advising against travel to areas along the Lebanese border with Syria, citing a risk of anti-Western sentiment.

Areas named in the travel warning include a 3-mile zone along the Syrian border, the northern city of Tripoli and the southern suburbs of Beirut.


Dozens of people were killed or injured in bombings in Tripoli and Beirut in recent weeks.

"British nationals should consider leaving if their presence in Lebanon is not essential at the current time," the warning said. "There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria."

A top-ranking British military official was in Beirut this week to pledge support for Lebanese border security. A British proposal for military action against Syria stalled Thursday when Prime Minister David Cameron failed to generate enough support in the House of Commons.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman met Friday in Beirut with Mohammad Raad, a parliamentary member from Hezbollah's political arm, to discuss national security issues. Both sides discussed "local and regional current developments and the measures that should be taken to preserve security and stability inside Lebanon," The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon reported.


Violence in Lebanon has increased since Hezbollah acknowledged this year it was fighting alongside pro-government forces in Syria. Lebanon broke free of Syrian dominance after the Cedar Revolution in 2005, though Syria's civil war threatens to ensnare the country as violence spills over the border.

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