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December 17, 2015 3:43 pm

US Travel Advisory: Violence in Jerusalem, West Bank at Highest Level in 10 Years

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Departure for international flights at Kennedy Airport in New York. The State Department updated its warnings to US citizens traveling to Israel. Photo: Wikipedia.

Departure for international flights at Kennedy Airport in New York. The State Department updated its warnings to US citizens traveling to Israel. Photo: Wikipedia.

Violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank has reached its worse levels in a decade, the State Department said in a travel advisory on Wednesday.

The advisory noted the increased frequency of attacks in Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, other parts of the West Bank and Israeli cities like Tel Aviv.

“There is no indication that US citizens have been specifically targeted based on their nationality, although perceived religious affiliation may have been a factor in some violent attacks on US citizens,” the statement read, likely referring to the killing of Boston-area native Ezra Schwartz, who was killed delivering food to Israeli soldiers with his yeshiva group.

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Additionally, the advisory said, more than 12 US citizens have been killed or injured in multiple attacks, and encouraged Americans to avoid observing demonstrations where Palestinians and Israeli security forces often clash.

Israel-American Richard Lakin was shot, stabbed and killed on a bus in Jerusalem in October and Eitam Henkin (who held American citizenship) was shot and killed with his wife in front of their four children in their vehicle in the West Bank, also in October.

The statement reflected the wave of violence terrorizing Israelis and prompting heightened security in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Some 17 Palestinians were arrested in night raids on Wednesday, many for alleged connections to terrorism.

According to Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff, more than 130 Palestinians have engaged in some sort of terrorist attack — mostly stabbings but also shootings and car-rammings — against Israels. This, added to the number of Palestinians apprehended by Palestinian and Israeli authorities on the verge of carrying out attacks, amounts to roughly three attacks per day since the uptick in violence began in early October. Twenty one Israelis and around 120 Palestinians — many of them terrorists — have been killed in the same period.

The travel advisory replaced previous guidelines issued in February.

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