On Tuesday, Greece urged its citizens who are not permanent residents of Lebanon to leave the country as the war between Israel and Hamas intensifies.
“Given the current situation in the area, the Greek Embassy of Beirut recommends to all Greek visitors non-residents passing through and currently in Lebanon, to leave the country,” an announcement by the Embassy of Greece tweeted.
Given the current situation in the area, the Greek Embassy of Beirut recommends to all Greek visitors non-residents passing through and currently in Lebanon, to leave the country. pic.twitter.com/ZHyfJ5DwuW
— Greece in Lebanon (@GreeceinLebanon) October 24, 2023
Greece has also advised Greeks to avoid “non-essential travel” to Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The announcement comes a day after Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. Mitsotakis expressed his pain and sorrow at the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel. He also underlined Israel’s right to self-defense according to international law.
Greece follows advice given to other nationalities in Lebanon
In the last few days the US, British, and German embassies in Beirut also advised citizens to leave Lebanon while flights “remain available.” Several countries have already warned citizens against traveling to Lebanon.
“We recommend that US citizens in Lebanon make appropriate arrangements to leave the country; commercial options currently remain available,” a US embassy statement said.
Last week, the US State Department raised its travel advisory for Lebanon from level three to four—the highest level available.
It authorized non-essential embassy personnel and their families to leave their embassy citing the unpredictable security situation due to the Israel-Hamas war.
The Financial Times (FT) reports that Lebanon is on edge over the threat from the Israel-Hamas conflict. Some of those who can are fleeing abroad or applying for visas to travel to neighboring Turkey or the United Arab Emirates. Others have driven north to be as far from the Israeli frontier as possible, FT says.
The FT explains that the unfolding events have raised alarm among officials, diplomats, and analysts that Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese paramilitary force, and its patron Iran, could fully commit to the conflict. Hamas and Hezbollah have maintained close ties, with the latter providing training and expertise.
Israel warns Lebanon
Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday said Israel is not seeking a war on its northern borders with the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Addressing a press conference with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who is in Israel on a solidarity visit, Herzog said: “Hezbollah is playing with fire. I want to make clear that we are not looking for a confrontation on our northern border.”
“But if Hezbollah drags us into a war, it should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price,” Herzog warned.
Border clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces followed the conflict in Gaza, which has been under Israeli bombardment and a blockade since October 7th.
The Palestinian death toll from ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip has climbed to 5,087, the Health Ministry in the blockaded enclave said. “The fatalities include 2,055 children, 1,119 women and 217 elders,” the ministry said, adding that 15,273 people were also injured.
More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in Hamas attacks since October 7th, according to Israeli authorities.