Caution in Lebanon

This item appears on page 21 of the November 2013 issue.

The Department of State urges travelers to avoid Lebanon. A number of extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including some, such as Hezbollah, that the US government has designated as terrorist organizations. US citizens have been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. 

Hezbollah maintains a strong presence in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley and areas in southern Lebanon. Sporadic violence involving Hezbollah or other extremist or criminal organizations remains a possibility in many areas of the country. 

The ongoing conflict in Syria has also resulted in numerous security incidents in the border regions between Lebanon and Syria and coincides with an increasing number of security incidents around the country. 

Over the past year there have been regular reports of shelling, originating from Syria, of Lebanese border areas and villages, as well as reports of armed groups originating from Syria who have kidnapped or attacked Lebanese citizens living in the border area. 

Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel have occurred in the past and remain a potential threat. These attacks frequently provoke a military response from Israel. 

Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the US operate largely autonomously inside refugee and military camps in different areas of the country. Travelers should avoid Palestinian camps. 

Access to borders, airports, roads and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning. Public demonstrations occur frequently with little warning and have the potential to become violent. Demonstrators sometimes block the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafic Hariri International Airport without warning.

Family, neighborhood or sectarian disputes often escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence.