On Thursday, the US Department of State released a notice titled “Worldwide Caution,” advising citizens everywhere to be mindful of their surroundings.
“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.”US State Department
In order to receive notifications and make it easier to locate them in the event of an emergency, travelers from the United States were advised to “stay alert in locations frequented by tourists” and enroll in the department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
This type of “Worldwide Caution” advisory was last issued by the State Department in August 2022, CNN reported, in response to the assassination of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.
The revised advice was released a few days after the State Department issued a warning to Americans about traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip in light of the current conflict. Since then, the government has released an advice alerting Americans to the risk of unpredictability in the security situation surrounding rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah or other armed extremist forces in neighboring Lebanon.
The State Department updated its page on Thursday with information for American nationals wishing to depart Israel, outlining the U.S. government’s efforts to enable charter flights from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on a rolling basis until at least October 22.
According to USA Today, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship assisted in the evacuation of Americans from Israel earlier this week. The ship had been in the vicinity when it canceled its plans, similar to several other cruise lines operating in the area.
While acknowledging that the “military conflict between Israel and Hamas is ongoing, making identifying departure options for U.S. citizens complex,” the State Department said it was also working on methods to assist Americans in Gaza in leaving. According to the department, “if you assess it to be safe,” Americans who want to leave should relocate closer to the Egyptian Rafah gate.
As stated in the State Department’s letter, “we anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable. There may be very little notice if the crossing opens, and it may only open for a limited time.”
Anyone wishing to flee the area with aid from the US government must complete an online crisis intake form.