✡️Are they safe amid Israeli-Gaza conflict?
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Are they safe amid Israeli-Gaza conflict?
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Israel’s war with Hamas has been raging for a month now, and the nation is intensifying its offensive on the Gaza Strip in a bid to wipe out the Islamist group.
Ground troops have surrounded Gaza City and are expected to begin a campaign of street-by-street fighting his week.
With more than 10,000 people dead in Gaza, according to Palestinian health authorities, much of the international community is calling for a ceasefire, but Israel has shown no signs of relenting.
Concerns are growing that the conflict could spill over into other parts of the Middle East, with Hezbollah militants already firing rockets across Israel’s border with Lebanon.
As a result, the UK Foreign Office is pulling some embassy staff and all family members out of Lebanon. It has recently changed its travel guidance for the country, as well as other destinations in the region.
Here, Yahoo News UK sets out the latest travel guidance for tourist destinations close to Israel and Gaza.
Lebanon travel advice
The Foreign Office advises against all travel to Lebanon, having upgraded its guidance from “all but essential travel”.
It warns events in the country are “fast moving”, adding that the “situation has potential to deteriorate quickly and with no warning”.
“Commercial routes out of Lebanon could be severely disrupted or cancelled at short notice and roads across the country could be closed,” the government department adds.
“If you are currently in Lebanon, we encourage you to leave now while commercial options remain available.”
While the Foreign Office mentions mortar and artillery exchange around Lebanon’s southern border, it also warns of civil arrest elsewhere, pointing to recent protests outside the French and US embassies.
It urges British nationals in Lebanon to register their presence with the Foreign Office, which can be done via this link to its website.
Cyprus travel advice
Although Cyprus is not in the Middle East, it is roughly 150 miles away from the Israeli coast and has been used as an evacuation point foreign nationals fleeing the country.
The island’s close proximity to Israel may be a cause of concern to some, but the Foreign Office has not issued any advice against travelling there.
More generally, it says that “although there is no recent history of terrorism in Cyprus, attacks cannot be ruled out” including in “places visited by foreigners”, although this can apply to many countries considered safe on the whole.
It adds the UK does not recognise the self-declared “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and that the British government’s ability to offer consular assistance there is limited.
Egypt travel advice
Between 200,000 and 500,000 tourists travel from the UK to Egypt each year, making it a major holiday destination for Britons.
However, the country shares a border with Israel and Gaza, with British ministers pressing Egyptian authorities to re-open the Rafah Crossing used to get people out of the Strip.
The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to certain parts of Egypt, although much of this guidance is related to military activity unrelated to Israel and Gaza.
These areas include North Sinai, the northern part of South Sinai and the eastern part of the Ismailiyah Governorate, the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, the Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid, and anywhere within 20km of the Egyptian-Libyan border.
While this means much of the country is not safe to visit, there are no warnings in place for Egypt’s popular tourist areas, including the Red Sea coast, Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria.
“Additional security measures are in place to protect the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam and other tourist areas on the Red Sea,” the Foreign Office says.
British nationals in Gaza wanting to enter Egypt should check the status of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories before travel.
Movement to the Rafah crossing and beyond is at your own risk, and the Foreign Office advises travel only if you judge it is safe to do so.
The Egyptian authorities have said all aid going into Gaza from Egypt must be channelled through the Egyptian Red Crescent.
Jordan travel advice
While Jordan is widely considered to be one of the safest places to visit in the Middle East, it does share a border with both Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, as well as Syria.
Most of Jordan’s tourist destinations are unaffected by the ongoing conflict, but the Foreign Office did update its travel guidance last week.
It now says: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 3km of Jordan’s border with Syria.”
Due to the ongoing and planned protests, the Foreign Office say Britons should avoid being near them as they can turn confrontational.
They say Britons “should take sensible precautions and avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations” as “there may be heightened anti-Western sentiment”.
Due to the Israeli government declaring a nationwide state of emergency, the Foreign Office warns that border crossings into Jordan from Israel could be closed at short notice.
Turkey travel advice
Turkey is in close proximity to the Middle East region, with the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clashing with the US over Washington’s opposition to a ceasefire.
Foreign Office travel advice, updated on Wednesday, reads: “Events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have led to heightened tensions in the region and demonstrations are ongoing in locations across Turkey.
“Large demonstrations have been reported outside diplomatic missions connected to the conflict in major cities, particularly Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul. Avoid all demonstrations and leave the area if one develops. Local transport routes may be disrupted.”
Its general guidelines advise against all travel within 10km of the border with Syria, and all but essential travel to either Sirnak city or Hakkari province.
It adds that terrorists are “very likely to try to carry out attacks in Turkey”. Most attacks have taken place in the southeast of the country, Ankara and Istanbul.
Are they safe amid Israeli-Gaza conflict?
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