In the wake of the bus attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning and the rising tensions in northern Israel resulting from Israeli airstrike in Syria’s Golan against Hezbollah and Iranian officials , the US Embassy in Tel Aviv issued a travel warning to its personnel, barring them from using public buses in Israel and the West Bank and from coming near Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, according to a report by Isareli web site Ynet
“Because of concerns about security on Israel’s northern borders, US government personnel are currently required to obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights,” a statement from the US Embassy said.
American visitors to Israel are advised not to use public transport in Israel and the West Bank.
On Wednesday evening, the US condemned the bus attack in Tel Aviv. “We strongly condemn today’s stabbings on a bus in Tel Aviv,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. “There is and can be no justification for such attacks against innocent civilians.”
She once again urged all sides to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence and seek a path toward peace.
A two-vehicle convoy carrying high-ranking Hezbollah fighters and top Iranian military officers was targeted in an Israeli air strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Sunday evening. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the air strike. Hezbollah is vowing revenge and both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border are on high alert.
The Israeli air strike killed six Hezbollah fighters, including high-ranking commanders reportedly involved in operations on the Israel-Syria border. Among the dead was Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s notorious chief of external operations Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008. Six Iranian military officers were also killed, including General Mohammad Allahdadi, a top commander from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for coordinating Iranian military support with the Syrian government against Sunni rebel groups in the area.
In a public statement earlier this month, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah proclaimed that: ‘No one has given a commitment that the attacks against Syria will remain without a response.’ Last week, he even threatened cross-border incursions into Israel’s Galilee region.