WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. State Department on Thursday issued a worldwide security alert for Americans overseas amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, citing increased tensions in various locations around the world and the potential for extremist attacks and violence against Americans.
The alert did not single out any specific global event but comes amid a conflict in the Middle East after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel subsequently pounded Hamas-ruled Gaza with air strikes that left thousands of people dead.
Demonstrations erupted in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and elsewhere amid outrage across the Middle East over an explosion Tuesday at a hospital in Gaza. Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli air strike, but Israel denied it. The U.S. has said it has data showing Israel was not responsible for the deadly strike.
Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters throwing projectiles near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on Thursday, TV footage showed. The State Department this week warned Americans not to travel to Lebanon.
In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that the Justice Department is monitoring an increase in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities in the United States tied to Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)