The State Department’s Lebanon Travel Warning

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The U. S. State Department renewed a travel warning for its nationals in regard to visiting Lebanon and cautioned Americans living in the country about risks from political tensions.

United States citizens should “avoid all travel to Lebanon due to current safety and security concerns,” the State Department posted on its web site late yesterday in Washington.

“U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks,” it continued.

Tensions have ballooned in advance of an indictment by a United Nations tribunal investigating the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. It could implicate members of the Shiite Hezbollah movement and lead to an outbreak of violence, according to some Lebanese politicians.

Lebanon has seen repeated outbreaks of sectarian strife and a 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

Hezbollah brought down Saad Hariri’s coalition government on January 12 because of the UN inquiry. It alleges the tribunal probing the killing was instigated by the United States and Israel to target the group, along with Syria, which supports Hezbollah. An indictment filed in January by the UN prosecutor is being reviewed by a court in the Netherlands.

This is the latest warning for Lebanon.