THE US Embassy, taking pride of place in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The US Embassy in Israel issued a statement telling all employees that they and their family members are prohibited from "personal travel to northern Israel" because of "increased tensions" along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
With the inauguration of Operation Northern Shield, the IDF's anti-tunnel operation along the northern border with Lebanon, the embassy has designated that areas north of Route 89, west of Route 90, east of Route 98 and north of Route 99 in the Golan are off limits for employees’ personal travel. The announcement makes an exception for the cities of Safed and Rosh Pina.
Only “essential travel" is permitted to these areas, which “may require additional security measures,” according the statement. Instructions provided by the embassy dictate that their employees avoid the area completely, if possible.
As part of Operation Northern Shield, the army declared a closed military zone in a number of communities near the Lebanese border
, including the city of Metulla. The IDF’s Northern Command has bolstered troops ahead of all possible scenarios. No reservists have been called up.
While the IDF stressed it is prepared for any escalation with Hezbollah, no special instructions have been issued for Israeli citizens in the North. The IDF was in contact with the heads of local authorities overnight, and will remain in touch with them throughout the operation.
Hezbollah excavated dozens of tunnels along the 130 kilometer border between the two countries
, the IDF believes.
Operation Northern Shield will take several months to complete.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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