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Reviewed: 29 August 2013, 15:58 NZDT
Still current at: 05 December 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Tripoli, the Palestinian refugee camps, within 5km of the Syrian border, in all regions in the northern Beka’a Valley, south of the Litani River and the southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) of Beirut. We advise against all travel to these areas due to the unpredictable security situation, significant threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping.
There is high risk to your security elsewhere in Lebanon and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to the unpredictable security situation, threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping.
Border with Syria
The on-going conflict in Syria is having a destabilising effect of the security situation in Lebanon and could result in a significant deterioration to security. There have been numerous reports of Lebanese border areas and villages being shelled by ordnance which has originated in Syria. There are also reports of armed groups, originating from Syria, attacking and kidnapping Lebanese citizens in the border areas.
Border with Israel
Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel have occurred and these often provoke a military response from Israel, primarily against targets in southern Lebanon.
There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Lebanon. The greatest threat is from extremist groups located in and around the Palestinian refugee camps, the Tripoli region, parts of the Beka’a Valley and south of the Litani River.
Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur anywhere at any time and target areas where large numbers of people congregate. This includes places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers, such as hotels, restaurants, embassies, tourist sites, airports and places of worship. Targets associated with the Lebanese Government, such as government buildings, Lebanese security forces, politicians and officials could be targeted. UN peacekeepers and convoys have been targeted in the past.
Political assassinations, car bombs, grenade attacks and small improvised bombs are among the methods used in incidents that have taken place recently. As the security situation remains volatile, New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to exercise a high degree of security awareness at all times.
Since July 2012, a number of kidnappings for ransom have taken place in Lebanon, mostly in the Beka’a Valley, with some involving foreign nationals. Kidnappings have also been reported in Beirut but could take place anywhere in Lebanon. The Lebanese authorities have warned that foreigners could be targeted and detained by kidnappers or other militant groups.
New Zealanders throughout the country should maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate security precautions when travelling by road and not stray off the main roads.
Civil Unrest/Political Tension
The political situation in Lebanon is unpredictable and tensions are currently high, with frequent demonstrations, road closures and localised conflicts between rival factions. Political developments in the region and international events could escalate tensions and result in outbreaks of civil unrest. Intra-communal or sectarian disputes often lead to gunfire and other violence in Lebanon. Demonstrations and civil unrest in the southern suburbs of Beirut have at times blocked roads close to the international airport.
New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to avoid all political demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they could turn violent with little warning. If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should find a safe location and remain indoors, heeding any local advice. We recommend you monitor the media and local developments closely and follow any instructions and advice issued by the local authorities.
There are increasing reports of armed robberies taking place in shared taxis (also known as service cars), where passengers have been robbed by either the driver or other passengers. If you need to use taxi services in Lebanon we recommend you pre-book using a recognized taxi company and do not use shared taxis or taxis hailed from the street.
There are numerous unexploded landmines, ordnance and cluster munitions in Lebanon, particularly in the south of the country. We recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths as mined areas are not always clearly marked.
General Travel Advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Lebanon, the ability of the government to provide assistance is severely limited.
We recommend ensuring your travel documents are kept up to date and are easily accessible, should there be a deterioration to the security situation requiring your departure from the country.
New Zealanders in Lebanon should carry photo ID with them at all times and present it to local security forces when asked.
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Lebanon to avoid offending local sensitivities.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Lebanon should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel in Lebanon as exclusions may well apply.
New Zealanders in Lebanon are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.