The US State Department has issued a rare 'do not travel' notice for American citizens in Lebanon. It is also allowing non-emergency personnel and family members of US government personnel at the embassy to depart the country "due to the unpredictable security situation".
The updated advisory which first went out Tuesday has been raised to Level 4: Do Not Travel. The advisory lays out deteriorating safety "related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hizballah or other armed militant factions."
"On October 17, 2023, the Department authorized the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from U.S. Embassy Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon," it stated.
Additionally it noted "large demonstrations have erupted in the wake of recent violence in Israel and Gaza." The advisory continued: "US citizens should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests as some of these have turned violent."
Starting Tuesday night huge crowds were seen headed toward the US Embassy complex in Beirut. People flying Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian flags were seen trying to storm the gate, and later fires were spotted at the gate and some outlying buildings. According to The Telegraph:
Rioters threw what appeared to be Molotov cocktails, according to reports, causing a fire to start at the embassy.
Protestors also blocked roads near the embassy and leading to Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, the State Department said.
The US State Department described, "Protesters have blocked major roads, including thoroughfares between downtown Beirut and the area where the US Embassy is located, and between Beirut and Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport."
It further warned that: "US citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon should be aware that consular officers from the US Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them."
After Iran's embassy in Damascus tweeted out yesterday "Time is Up" - Israel's embassy in the US responded with a Matrix meme... in a dangerous and somewhat absurd moment:
The prospect of wider war is looming...
Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi has said that the US are “accomplices in the crimes” of Israel, a day after Israel bombed the al-Ahli al Arab hospital in Gaza...
In a speech, he said: “The bombs that fall on the population of Gaza are American ... The world considers the United States to be complicit in the crimes of the Zionist regime.”
Iran warns that Israel's actions in Gaza will trigger a wider war— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) October 18, 2023
'Iran over the years has been able to create or co-opt different proxy groups that it controls ultimately, and it can control the cycle of violence' @FDD's Benham Ben Taleblu says pic.twitter.com/PFyGUJrfja
Other countries have also started warning their citizens to depart Lebanon - surprisingly with Saudi Arabia among them. Saudi Arabia has on Wednesday advised all of its citizens to leave the country immediately.
"The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Lebanon is closely following the developments of the current events in the southern Lebanon region, calling on all citizens to adhere to the travel ban and to leave Lebanese territory immediately for those who are currently in Lebanon," the statement reads.