US Prepares For Possible Evacuation Of Americans From Lebanon Amid Rising Tensions

As conflict between Israel and Hezbollah escalates, the United States is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Lebanon if necessary. According to NBC News, the Pentagon has strategically positioned the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship, along with Marines from the 24th Expeditionary Unit closer to Israel and Lebanon, ready to assist in evacuation efforts.

On Thursday, the State Department issued a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to “strongly reconsider” travel to Lebanon. This advisory comes amidst intelligence reports suggesting an increasing likelihood of war between Israel and Hezbollah. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson emphasized the Biden administration’s focus on seeking a diplomatic resolution to allow both Israeli and Lebanese citizens to return home safely. “We also continue efforts to secure a deal that would lead to a durable end to the war in Gaza,” Watson told Politico.

The Biden administration’s strategy hinges on achieving a cease-fire and hostage deal in Gaza, which is currently awaiting a decision from Hamas. “A cease-fire and hostage deal in Gaza will accelerate the possibility of progress, including lasting security and calm along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon,” Watson added.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, speaking in Washington, D.C., reiterated Israel’s preference for peace but underscored the country’s preparedness for any scenario. “Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched,” Gallant warned.

The border between Lebanon and Israel has seen near-daily exchanges of fire since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict in early October. Hezbollah has stated that it will cease hostilities only if Israel ends its offensive in the Gaza Strip. So far, Israeli strikes in Lebanon have resulted in over 400 deaths, including militants and more than 80 civilians. In northern Israel, attacks from Lebanon have killed 16 soldiers and 11 civilians.

As tensions continue to rise, the U.S. remains poised to ensure the safety of its citizens, ready to act swiftly should the situation necessitate an evacuation. The coming days will be crucial in determining whether diplomatic efforts can stave off further escalation and bring stability to the region.