US, Russian embassies warn against Lebanon travel

The Israeli military last week announced “plans for a broader attack in Lebanon.”…reports Asian Lite News

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed “the situation in southern Lebanon and the region” in a phone call on Thursday with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

The talks took place as several embassies in Lebanon reissued warnings to their citizens to neither stay in nor travel to Lebanon amid ongoing threats to expand the confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah.

Schallenberg addressed “international efforts aimed at stopping the Israeli attacks on Lebanon,” according to Mikati’s media office.

The Israeli military last week announced “plans for a broader attack in Lebanon.”

Mikati chaired a crucial meeting on Thursday which focused on “ways to support displaced persons and residents in the villages located behind the area exposed to Israeli attacks and how to respond to any emergency if it occurs,” according to Mikati’s office.

Interior, health, environment, and social affairs ministers, governors of the South and Nabatieh, the secretary-general of the Supreme Defense Council, the National Council for Scientific Research, and a representative from the Ministry of Education attended the talks.

(240514) — GAZA, May 14, 2024 (Xinhua) — Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on May 14, 2024. Israeli tanks on Tuesday marched towards the center of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, as tens of thousands of residents fled to evade an Israeli ground offensive, a local source reported. (Photo by Khaled Omar/Xinhua)

The US Embassy warned its citizens in a statement on social media “against traveling to Lebanon due to the dangerous security situation,” adding that “conditions may change dramatically and rapidly.”

The Russian Embassy advised its citizens “to refrain from traveling to Lebanon until the situation in the southern part of the country calms down.”

The statement “is an old version of last year and is still ongoing,” said Russian Ambassador Alexander Rudakov.

“We advise our citizens not to come to Lebanon before the south settles down, and to the citizens there, we have left them the option of staying or leaving.”

European countries have also warned their nationals against heading to Lebanon, while the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry has evacuated its citizens.

Israeli Channel 12 quoted a source in the Israeli military as saying that Tel Aviv might be forced to take a highly offensive step in Lebanon.

It said the army had begun training soldiers transferred north in preparation for “combat in a complex environment and populated areas.”

The Israeli source confirmed “a decision to transfer forces from the Gaza Strip to the north,” noting that “officials are aware that tensions in the north are escalating.”

The US had previously expressed concern “about the outbreak of a comprehensive war with Lebanon.”

Despite diplomatic efforts, confrontations have intensified between Hezbollah and Israel after the assassination of a senior Hezbollah field commander, Taleb Abdullah, two weeks ago.

Israeli warplanes struck Aitaroun at noon, destroying a house. No injuries were reported. The area — abandoned by its residents — is subjected to daily Israeli strikes.

Another raid was carried out on the border town of Houla.

An Israeli combat drone targeted and killed a motorcyclist on the road to Sohmor in western Beqaa.

Israeli aircraft flew at a low altitude over the Nabatieh and Iqlim Al-Tuffah regions, creating a loud sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier in two waves.

An Israeli drone targeted a residential building in Nabatieh, injuring over 20 residents in the Mashaa neighborhood. Members of a displaced family from the border town of Taybeh were among the wounded.

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