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June 24, 2017

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MOFA raises travel alert for Israel and Palestine to 'red'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday warned nationals against visiting Israel and Palestine due to the heightened conflict in the region, adding that various international airlines have been affected by the ongoing clash between Palestinian militant Islamist organization Hamas and the government of Israel.

Hamas and Israel have been actively involved in fighting since July 7. The death toll has reached more than 1,000 during the Israeli-Palestinian military engagement, after Israel began a ground offensive in Palestinian territory, according to MOFA.

MOFA has so far raised the travel warning to "red" — the highest warning level — for a 40-kilometer radius around the Gaza Strip, urging travelers to avoid entering the area. The rest of Israel is on the second highest "orange" alert, meaning Taiwanese should reconsider unnecessary visits to the area, according to MOFA.

Also, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed flight bans on areas around Israel on July 22 over Hamas attacks on Ben Gurion International Airport and various cities in Israel.

Though the flight bans were lifted by the FAA on July 24, several international airlines are still restricting flights from passing through Israel airspace.

MOFA urges Taiwanese travelers who plan to visit Israel to check flight schedules first to make sure if their flights have been affected by the flight bans, MOFA said.

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