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US in Israel travel rules: State department curbs movement of its employees

Iran has repeatedly vowed to strike back at Israel over the Damascus attack, which killed three generals and four other military officers

Liam Stack Jerusalem Published 13.04.24, 07:36 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The US state department has barred its employees in Israel from travelling to large parts of the country, a reflection of deepening concern that Iran could strike Israeli territory in retaliation for the deadly bombing of an Iranian Embassy complex in Damascus this month.

Iran has repeatedly vowed to strike back at Israel over the Damascus attack, which killed three generals and four other military officers. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden told reporters that Iran was threatening a “significant” attack.


The state department issued the travel warning on Thursday as the top American military commander for West Asia, Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, travelled to Israel to coordinate a response to possible Iranian retaliation, US officials said. It was the first time the US government has restricted the movement of its employees in this way since the war in Gaza began six months ago.

Asked about the travel warning, Matthew Miller, the state department spokesman, said: “We have seen Iran making public threats against Israel in the past few days.” He declined to provide details about any specific information that prompted the warning.

The new guidelines bar US government employees and their families from travelling to locations outside the Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba metropolitan areas “out of an abundance of caution” until further notice. The state department said US personnel could move between those areas for personal travel.

“Israel’s in a very tough neighbourhood, and we have been monitoring the security situation,” Miller said on Thursday. “You saw us slightly adjust our travel warnings at the beginning of this conflict, and we conduct ongoing assessments all the time about the situation on the ground.”

'Show restraint' Russia, Germany and Britain on Thursday urged countries in West Asia to show restraint and Israel said it was preparing to "meet all its security needs" in a region on edge over an Iranian threat to strike Israel.

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock called on her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian to urge "maximum restraint" to avoid further escalation. Russia's told its citizens they should not travel to West Asia.

New York Times News Service and Reuters

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