In response to the unfolding conflict in Israel and Gaza, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for American citizens across the globe.
"Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution," the agency said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The Department of State also advised Americans not to travel to Gaza under any circumstances, due to the risk of terrorism. “Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza,” the statement cautioned. “Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.”
The department is reminding Americans to “exercise increased caution” if they must travel abroad, and to remain alert while in high-traffic tourist spots. They recommend all foreign travelers sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides security updates.
It’s especially important to enroll in STEP if you’re planning to travel to a politically unstable area, taking an extended trip, or planning to attend a large-scale event which could become the target of terrorist attacks. In a worst-case scenario, STEP provides users with evacuation guides and important safety information.
23 worldwide cautions have been issued by the U.S. State Department since 2008, according to Skift. The last time an alert was issued was in 2022 after the death of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, due to fears of anti-American violence.