Travel to Lebanon carries State Department, DOD warnings
Stars and Stripes February 2, 2006
While Lebanon can be one of the most rewarding travel experiences you’ll have, it must be noted that the State Department continues to issue travel warnings for the country. The most recent, from November 2005, still applies. It reads, in part:
“The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully weigh the necessity of their travel to Lebanon in light of the risks noted below. Recent events in Lebanon underscore the need for caution and sound personal security precautions. Since March, there have been 13 separate bombings in Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of nine people and injuries to more than 78 others.
“Americans have been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. The perpetrators of many of these attacks are still present and retain the ability to act. American citizens should thus keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel. Americans should also pay close attention to their personal security at locations where Westerners are generally known to congregate, and should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
“Unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. Government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the Department of State. U.S. citizens who travel to Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should exercise heightened caution when traveling in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley and South Lebanon, and the cities of Sidon and Tripoli. Hezbollah has not been disarmed and it maintains a strong presence in many of these areas. Travel by U.S. citizens to Palestinian camps should be avoided.
“Dangers posed by land mines and unexploded ordnance throughout south Lebanon are significant and also exist in other areas where civil war fighting was intense.”
Representatives of both the U.S. European Command and U.S. Army Europe say they follow the State Department’s advisories, although local commanders can issue additional restrictions or declare an area off-limits if they consider it justified. The USAREUR Web site has a link to the State Department travel warnings.