(The Hill) – The State Department on Thursday urged Americans to make plans to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible,” elevating an earlier security warning that advised Americans not to travel to the country.
“The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring the security situation in Lebanon,” the Thursday advisory read. “The Department of State urges U.S. citizens in Lebanon to make plans to depart as soon as possible while commercial options are still available.”
“We recommend that U.S. citizens who choose not to depart prepare contingency plans for emergency situations,” the advisory added.
The warning comes as demonstrations and violent confrontations have erupted in Lebanon amid the war between Hamas and Israel. Fighting has also broken out along the border between Lebanon and Israel, where Israeli forces and the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah have clashed for years.
On Tuesday, the State Department warned Americans not to travel to Lebanon, citing “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and [Hezbollah] or other armed militant factions.”
The department reiterated its warning from Tuesday against joining protests.
“The Department of State reminds citizens to avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests as some of these have turned violent,” the advisory read.
The advisory outlined several actions that Americans in Lebanon should take, including, having plans to depart that do not rely on the U.S. government, securing travel documents, reviewing personal security plans and keeping cell phones charged.
The advisory encouraged people to “exercise caution, monitor the news closely for breaking developments that could affect internal security, and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.”