US issues travel alert for Israel, Palestine over 'heightened tension' in Middle East


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WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government issued a travel advisory on Monday, urging its citizens to stay alert while traveling in Israel and Palestine.

The U.S. embassy in Israel noted in a release that "heightened tension in the Middle East may result in security risks to U.S. citizens abroad," cautioning U.S. citizens against touring in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning," said the release.

The travel alert came after the U.S. killing last week of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, which has sparked outrage and revenge threats from Tehran.

Following the strike, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Friday urged all U.S. citizens to leave Iraq immediately. Besides, the U.S. embassy in Beirut issued a security alert on Friday, warning U.S. citizens in Lebanon to exercise increased caution.