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WORLD TRAVEL WATCH

Israel Closes Gate to West Bank and Gaza Strip : World Travel Watch is a monthly report intended to help you make informed judgments about travel. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. 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.

April 04, 1993|LARRY HABEGGER and JAMES O'REILLY | Habegger and O'Reilly are San Francisco-based free-lance writers.

Middle East

Israel: In the wake of last week's murders of two Israeli policemen by Palestinians outside Hadera, about 30 miles north of Tel Aviv, the Israeli government on Tuesday decided to close indefinitely the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The past month has seen the most sustained anti-Israeli violence since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising in 1987, with at least 15 deaths to civilians, policemen and soldiers. Avoid travel to these areas.

South America

Bolivia: Tensions are high in Bolivia, where military control has been imposed on the nation's cities, and mines, schools and public health facilities have been shut down by strikes. The U.S. Embassy in La Paz was forced to close March 16 when a demonstration of about 10,000 people approached the building; a 14-year-old boy was killed in a demonstration in the southern city of Potosi March 20 when he was hit on the head by a tear gas canister. The crisis is likely to continue as congress debates changes to the constitution and a general election looms in June. Exercise caution and follow local press reports.

Venezuela: Tensions are high in the capital city of Caracas, where students clashed with police over a three-day period ending March 17, and again on March 22. Similar anti-government protests occurred about 15 miles east of the capital on March 17, and the main highway linking Caracas with eastern Venezuela was temporarily shut down. Rumors of an impending coup are rampant. Exercise caution.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 11, 1993 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 2 Column 5 Travel Desk 3 inches; 73 words Type of Material: Correction
Israel warning--A headline in last week's World Watch column implied travelers were not free to cross into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, recently cordoned off after an escalation of violence by Palestinians against Israelis. However, the borders are closed to Palestinians leaving the territories, not to others wishing to enter from Israel. (Bethlehem, a popular tourist destination, is located in the West Bank.) However, Gaza remains unsafe for tourists and travelers are advised to use caution in the West Bank.

Asia

India: Violence and instability have increased dramatically in the last several months, largely due to Hindu-Muslim conflict, reflected in the December razing of a mosque in Ahmedabad, January riots in Bombay, and an unprecedented series of bomb blasts in Bombay March 12, reportedly aimed at creating chaos and damaging the national economy. On March 15, the State Department reported receiving information of a possible heightened threat of terrorist attacks in New Delhi, and encouraged Americans temporarily to defer travel there. People who must travel to India at this time should register with the U.S. Embassy on arrival, follow local press reports on current security conditions, and avoid large gatherings of people.

Africa

Egypt: A nationwide crackdown on the radical organization Gamaa al Islamiya (The Islamic Group) produced intense fighting in Asyut March 17 between security forces and armed fundamentalists. The crackdown came in response to continuing terrorist attacks by Islamic militants in the governates of Asyut and El Minya, which lie midway between Cairo and Luxor, and more recently in Cairo. Overland travel through these areas has become increasingly risky. Travelers should consult the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for the latest security information before traveling overland to Luxor.

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