State Dept. urges U.S. citizens to evacuate Lebanon

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The State Department on Friday recommended that U.S. citizens in Lebanon evacuate while flights are available due to an “unpredictable security situation” amid the escalating regional conflict.

“You should have a plan of action for crisis situations that does not rely on U.S. government assistance,” the statement read. “The best time to leave a country is before a crisis if at all possible.”

“There is no guarantee the U.S. government will evacuate private U.S. citizens and their family members in a crisis situation,” the statement added. “In the event that a U.S. military-assisted evacuation does occur, our focus will be on helping U.S. citizens. The U.S. government generally cannot provide in-country transportation during a crisis. That includes transportation to points of departure.”

The release recommended that such individuals review flight options at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport.

The statement comes as back-and-forth strikes between the Israeli Defense Forces and the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah have intensified along Lebanon’s border with Israel, prompting some 12,000 people to flee their homes in southern Lebanon and killing at least 25.

Israel on Friday expanded its Gaza bombardment after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on Israeli settlements, with the Biden administration seeking to contain the conflict from spreading to areas such as Lebanon.

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