WASHINGTON -- The security environment "remains complex" in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the US State Department said on Monday, replacing its travel warning from June of last year with an updated alert.

The update comes shortly after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) publicly revealed an al-Qaida plot against the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

US officials working in Israel are forbidden from public transport and cannot enter the Old City of Jerusalem on Fridays.

The update notes that Israel has stopped issuing gas masks to its citizens, "but does not rule out starting it again at any time, in response to regional events," it reads.

"Some US citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or who are of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank," the alert says.

The State Department urges all US citizens to avoid travel to the Gaza Strip and to exercise "caution" when traveling in the West Bank.

Demonstrations and violent incidents in the West Bank "can occur without warning," the alert reads, "and vehicles are regularly targeted by rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire on West Bank roads."




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