U.S. Warns Americans to Avoid Gaza

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The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory warning Americans not to visit the Gaza Strip or take part in demonstrations in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

“U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest and deportation of U.S. citizens,” the advisory stated.

The warning follows a request by the Israeli government urging countries to dissuade their citizens from joining attempts to breech the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine pro-Palestinian activist were killed during the confrontation aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish flagship that refused to change course and sail to the port at Ashdod. One of the casualties was a Turkish-American.

Americans traveling on other boats in the flotilla were arrested and deported.

"The security environment within Gaza and along its borders, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile," the warning read. "U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea."

State Department officials also warned that greater danger may exist around restaurants and businesses affiliated with American interests.

"U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations," the State Department said.

"Some U.S. citizens involved in demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries in confrontations with Israeli settlers and the Israel Defense Forces. The State Department recommends that U.S. citizens, for their own safety, avoid demonstrations."

The warning was intended not only for Americans travelers, but for journalists and aid workers as well.

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