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Risk Rises After Lebanon Slaying : World Travel Watch is a monthly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. In the United States, contact your passport agency office; abroad, check in with the nearest American embassy.


SECURITY ALERT According to the U.S. Department of State, the Feb. 16 killing of Hezbollah Secretary General Sheik Abbas Musawi by Israeli forces in southern Lebanon has increased the security risk to Americans traveling or residing in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Hezbollah officials have reportedly called for vengeance against the United States, creating the possibility that Americans could become the target of terrorist actions. The situation in Lebanon is considered particularly dangerous for Americans. U.S. passports remain invalid for travel to Lebanon.

ASIA India: The state of Kashmir saw more trouble Feb. 12 when Pakistani militants tried to stage a march to the region in support of Islamic militants seeking autonomy from the Indian government. Another march is planned for March 30. The border disturbances have increased tensions between India and Pakistan. Travel to the region should be avoided.

EUROPE Yugoslavia: Despite the recent cease-fire, the State Department recommends that U.S. citizens leave strife-torn sections of Yugoslavia because of violent outbreaks. The warning applies to Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and citizens in other parts of the country--Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia--are advised to consider leaving. Crime, including bombings, in those areas is on the rise.

SOUTHEAST ASIA Cambodia: Travel to Cambodia should be undertaken with caution even though the U.S. government has lifted its trade embargo following implementation of an agreement to end the long civil war there. Sporadic military operations still occur in the countryside and banditry is a serious problem. The U.S. Mission in Phnom Penh can provide only very limited emergency consular services.

AFRICA South Africa: Americans are being advised by the State Department to exercise caution when traveling in South Africa. Visitors to city centers in all major cities, particularly central Johannesburg, should exercise caution due to significant increases in street crime. Thefts from hotel rooms and vehicles are especially common. Clashes between political factions have occurred at political gatherings and right-wing violence is increasing. The State Department is discouraging travel to South Africa's Independent Homelands. Tourist areas such as game parks and beaches are not generally affected.

Ivory Coast: An anti-government demonstration Feb. 18 in the capital city of Abidjan turned into a riot. Travelers should exercise caution and avoid crowds.

Zaire: Soldiers broke up a peaceful pro-democracy march Feb. 16 in the capital city of Kinshasa, killing as many as 30 people. Travel should be avoided here due to continuing unrest.

SOUTH AMERICA Peru: On Feb. 11, leftist terrorists bombed several banks and a movie theater, and detonated a car bomb outside the American ambassador's residence in Lima. As part of its anti-insurgency campaign, the government has declared a state emergency in more than half the country. Travel to Peru should be avoided unless going with an experienced tour company.

Colombia: The eruption of the Galeras Volcano near Pasto in Narino Department has been predicted for several months. Travel to the area should be deferred until the threat passes.

For more information on safety concerns in countries you may be visiting, contact the Citizens Emergency Center, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5225. Habegger and O'Reilly are free-lance writers based in San Francisco.

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