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U.S. warns Americans to 'reconsider travel' to Israel, West Bank

Smoke rises above buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, following an Israeli strike Sunday. Fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas raged following Saturday's attacks on Israel, as hundreds were killed on both sides. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for Israel and the West Bank to a Level 3 -- "Reconsider Travel," as the advisory for Gaza remained at an elevated Level 4 -- "Do Not Travel." Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI.
Smoke rises above buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, following an Israeli strike Sunday. Fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas raged following Saturday's attacks on Israel, as hundreds were killed on both sides. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for Israel and the West Bank to a Level 3 -- "Reconsider Travel," as the advisory for Gaza remained at an elevated Level 4 -- "Do Not Travel." Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI. | License Photo

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to "reconsider travel" to Israel and the West Bank, as it raised its Travel Advisory Level for the region to Level 3.

"Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza," the State Department warned Wednesday.

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"On Oct. 11, the department raised the Travel Advisory for Israel and the West Bank to Level 3 -- Reconsider Travel due to terrorism and civil unrest. The Travel Advisory for Gaza remains Level 4 -- Do Not Travel due to terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict," the department warned in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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"Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls and local government facilities," the advisory says.

"Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning."

With the raised travel advisory, U.S. government employees are now restricted from personal travel to Israel or the West Bank, other than mission-critical travel.

The State Department warned Wednesday anyone traveling to Gaza should be prepared for an indefinite stay with a secure plan to leave Gaza without the help of any U.S. government assistance.

In addition to the travel advisories, the department offered a number of ways to stay safe, including maintaining a "high degree of situational awareness while exercising caution at all times."

Specifically, the advisory warns travelers to avoid demonstrations and crowds, report suspicious activities, learn locations of bomb shelters, carry travel medical insurance and enroll in traveler alert programs, especially through the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

Since Saturday's attacks, the embassy has issued ongoing alerts for U.S. citizens including flight availability from Ben Gurion International Airport and the status of land border crossings for those wishing to depart Israel.

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