Washington, London and Berlin on Thursday advised their citizens to leave Lebanon as border tensions between Israel and Hezbollah intensify over Israel’s war with Hamas.
“We recommend that United States citizens in Lebanon make appropriate arrangements to leave the country; commercial options currently remain available,” a statement from the US embassy in Beirut said, with a similar warning issued by the British.
“If you are currently in Lebanon, we encourage you to leave now while commercial options remain available,” the British embassy said, urging its nationals to “exercise caution.”
AFP reports that Germany’s foreign office also asked citizens to “leave Lebanon” in a statement warning that border clashes “can escalate further at any time” and advising its nationals to “use existing commercial travel options to leave the country safely.”
Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have been trading daily cross-border fire with Israel after Hamas launched a massive October 7 assault on southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
Relentless Israeli strikes on Gaza have since killed at least 3,700 people, mostly civilians, the Hamas-run health ministry says. France, Canada, Australia and Spain have also warned against travel to Lebanon.
At least 21 people have been killed by cross-border fire in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally, mostly combatants but also three civilians including a Reuters journalist. At least three people have been killed on the Israeli side.
US warns overseas citizens
The State Department on Thursday issued a rare “worldwide caution” advisory for US citizens everywhere, citing terrorism and the potential for anti-American demonstrations.
The alert said US citizens should be aware of “increased tensions in various locations around the world.”
This includes “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against US citizens and interests.”
Israel recalls Turkey diplomats
Israel has recalled its diplomats from Turkey as a security precaution, a source close to the dossier told AFP Thursday, having already advised citizens to leave.
Israel’s National Security Council late on Tuesday called on all Israelis in Turkey to leave “as soon as possible”.
On Wednesday, its consulate in Istanbul said it was for their own safety given the growing “terrorist threats” against Israelis abroad. The alert level had been raised to four, the highest level, a consular spokesperson told AFP.
China insists ceasefire
A two-state solution to establish an independent Palestine is the “fundamental way out” of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Thursday in his first public comments on the war since it broke out nearly two weeks ago.
“The top priority now is a ceasefire as soon as possible, to avoid the conflict from expanding or even spiralling out of control and causing a serious humanitarian crisis,” Xi was quoted as saying by China’s state broadcaster CCTV.
Xi, who made the comments in a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in Beijing, said China was willing to work with Egypt and Arab nations to “promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue,” according to CCTV.
UN chief calls for aid
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged “rapid, unimpeded humanitarian access” to the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Israel kept up its retaliation.
“We need food, water, medicine and fuel now. We need it at scale and we need it to be sustained, it is not one small operation that is required,” Guterres said in Cairo, as calls mounted for aid to reach the territory’s 2.4 million people.
“In plain terms, that means humanitarians need to be able to get aid in and they need to be able to distribute it safely.”
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths estimated that about 100 trucks per day were needed to meet the needs in Gaza.
In a joint press conference with Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, Guterres called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.