U.S. Again Warns Nationals of Risk of Attacks in Lebanon
The U.S. Embassy in Beirut on Friday again warned its citizens of “an increased possibility of attacks” against them in Lebanon and announced the suspension of the Fulbright and English Language Fellow programs.
“The U.S. Embassy has received reports of an increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon. Possible threats include kidnapping, the potential for an upsurge in violence, the escalation of family or neighborhood disputes, as well as U.S. citizens being the target of terrorist attacks in Lebanon,” the embassy said in a statement.
The embassy had issued a similar warning last Friday.
“U.S. Embassy personnel remain under strict travel restrictions, and all U.S. citizens are urged to take additional security precautions,” the embassy reiterated in its new statement.
“The Fulbright and the English Language Fellow programs have been suspended in Lebanon due to the deteriorating security situation and the increased possibility of attacks against American citizens in Lebanon,” it announced, cutting short research projects and teaching grants for U.S. university students and educators in Lebanon.
The embassy reminded U.S. citizens to consult the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Lebanon, to assess their personal security, vary travel routes, exercise caution, take appropriate measures to ensure their safety, and report any suspicious or unusual activity immediately to authorities.
The embassy said the decision on the suspension of the programs “only impacts American Fulbright scholars and American English Language Fellows in Lebanon and the suspension applies to this academic year.”
“This does not have any impact on State Department-sponsored exchange programs that Lebanese participate in by traveling to the United States,” the embassy noted.
Lebanon has been grappling with heightened security fears after a spate of kidnappings this week in retaliation for the abduction of Lebanese citizens in Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain have ordered their nationals to leave the country immediately in the face of threats, particularly against Saudis and Qataris.
Turkey also advised its nationals on Friday to avoid non-essential travel to Lebanon after the kidnappings which included two Turkish citizens.