US, UK, and Canadian diplomatic authorities issued new travel warnings for Lebanon on Thursday, September 14, following potential terrorist threats against the Casino Du Liban in Jounieh, as well as in response to other ongoing security threats in the country. The US Embassy in Beirut barred US government staff from visiting the casino, as "terrorist incidents may occur with little or no warning." To augment security, Casino Du Liban administrators have also forbidden the entry of cars onto casino premises. Expect heightened security measures in Jounieh and throughout Greater Beirut in the coming days.
The Casino Du Liban threat comes after the Lebanese army launched a significant offensive against IS positions along the border with Syria on August 19. Previously, on July 21, Hezbollah and the Syrian military launched a joint offensive in the border region between Lebanon and Syria to rid the area of the remaining Islamist militant presence. Authorities say the operation was focused on the Lebanese town of Aarsal and the Syrian town of Fleita. Insurgent forces took advantage of the porous border between Lebanon and Syria to facilitate operations within Syria and, on occasion, within Lebanon. Lebanese military forces and Hezbollah engaged in multiple operations across the region in recent years to isolate and eradicate Islamic State (IS) and Nusra Front-linked groups from the area.
Individuals present in Lebanon are advised to adhere to relevant Western diplomatic advice and that of local Lebanese officials, to monitor developments to the situation, and to remain vigilant at all times in the country. As a reminder, Western governments strongly advise their nationals against all travel to refugee camps, Beirut's southern districts, southern Lebanon, the city of Tripoli (north), Akkar district (north), and the country's eastern regions (the Bekaa Valley east of the Baalbek El Hermel highway, and Aarsal, Baalbek, Hermel, Majdel, Masnaa, Marjayoun, Rachaiya, and Rayak).