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Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Hebron area
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
US: Settlers assaulting American citizens
State Department warns of security problems for Americans, others in Gaza; says, 'citizens of Western nations, including Americans, involved in pro-Palestinian volunteer efforts were assaulted and injured in Occupied Territories by Israeli settlers and harassed by Israeli army'
Americans are unsafe in the Gaza Strip, and those in the Palestinian area should leave immediately, the US State Department said Tuesday.

 

Continuing or possible violence in Israel, it said, also makes it necessary for Americans to avoid locations associated with US interests or official US buildings, the State Department said Tuesday in an updated travel warning.

 

Even Americans and other people working to help the Palestinians should be wary, the warning said.

 

"In recent months, citizens of Western nations, including Americans, involved in pro-Palestinian volunteer efforts were assaulted and

injured in the Occupied Territories by Israeli settlers and harassed by the (Israeli army). Those taking part in demonstrations, nonviolent resistance, and direct action are advised to cease such activity for their own safety," it said.

 

The department said security has improved in northern Israel, as a ceasefire seems to be preventing rocket firing from Hizbullah.

 

"While the cessation of hostilities largely has been honored by both sides, the situation remains tense and a possible resumption of sporadic violence cannot be ruled out," the warning said.

 

'Conditions of lawlessness'  

It cited security problems for Americans in Gaza and the West Bank, all territories controlled by the Palestinians.

 

"Violent demonstrations and armed conflicts between supporters of the Hamas and Fatah factions, and clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants have increased in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," it said.

 

"Overall conditions of lawlessness prevail in the Gaza Strip, including the recent kidnapping of journalists. Areas of violent conflict shift rapidly and unpredictably," The State Department said.

 

Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni from Washington, DC and his cameraman Olaf Wiig of New Zealand were freed by Palestinian gunmen on Sunday after being held captive for two weeks in the Gaza Strip.

 

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