US allows families of embassy staff in Beirut to return to Lebanon

WASHINGTON - The US State Department said on Wednesday that family members of its embassy staff in Beirut may return to Lebanon, in a sign the volatile security environment has improved.
The department last week allowed non-essential personnel, who had been evacuated last month because of unspecified threats, to return to US Embassy in Beirut.
Still, the State Department continued to urge US citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon, citing the potential "for a spontaneous upsurge in violence" in the country, which borders Syria, where a civil war has raged for two and a half years.
The United States tightened security at its diplomatic missions in Lebanon and Turkey on Sept. 6 amid "potential threats," which arose about a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
At the time, non-essential workers and their families were ordered to leave Beirut and given permission to leave Adana, near Turkey's border with Syria.