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U.S. issues ‘worldwide caution’ global travel alert for citizens

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The United States is warning citizens to “exercise increased caution” when travelling overseas with the State Department citing “increased tensions” in various parts of the world.

In a “worldwide caution” advisory issued on Thursday, the government said in addition to increased tensions, there were concerns over the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against citizens or U.S. interests.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said there was no specific cause for the warning.

“We’re monitoring conditions around the world, we’re monitoring conditions in the region, we take a number of factors into consideration when making that determination. It’s not necessarily one thing but everything that we’re watching around the world.”

The advisory was made a day after the U.S. also warned its citizens against all travel to Lebanon amid fears the Israel-Hamas conflict could spread throughout that region.

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Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group based in Lebanon, has been exchanging fire with Israel’s military at the border between the two countries in recent days, causing added concern as Israel prepares for an expected ground offensive against Hamas.

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 It’s not yet known when that offensive could come, but it has been alluded to by Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

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On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland warned that the Justice Department was monitoring an increase in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities in the United States in connection with Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. did not mention any countries specifically to avoid travelling to in its advisory, but said citizens should “Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists,” follow the State Department on social media platforms and enrol in its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive information and alerts, as well as to make it easier to locate them in an overseas emergency.

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While it is not issuing a similar “worldwide” caution, Canada has also issued travel warnings recently including their own advisory against travel to Lebanon.

In a statement to Global News, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod said there was “no strict formula to determine the level of a country or region,” and the levels are based on an overall assessment of the current security situation. Such advisories and advice are updated “to respond to events that could affect the personal safety of Canadians abroad.

“The safety of Canadians abroad is the government’s top priority,” MacLeod wrote. 

with files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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