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US asks its citizens to leave Gaza 'as soon as possible'

US Department of State warned American citizens "against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open," a statement posted on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs said on Tuesday.

"Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organisation," the statement explained, "the security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high."

"While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary ceasefire that ended the Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military response continue to occur."

Regarding Israel and the occupied West Bank, the State Department said: "The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel."

However, it warned: "The security situation remains complex… and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and geographic location. Therefore, US citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings."

The warning came after more than 50 Israeli artillery strikes hit the Gaza Strip in a 30 minute period on Sunday evening.

Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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