LONDON ø A leading Western risk assessment firm has dismissed the
warnings by the United States to avoid travel to several areas of the Middle
The London-based Control Risks Group disagreed in particular with a State Department
alert for Americans to avoid Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The firm
disputed U.S. assessments of the likelihood of an attack on U.S. nationals
in that region of the Middle East.
On April 28, the State Department, in an updated travel warning, urged
U.S. citizens to leave the Gaza Strip immediately, Middle East Newsline reported. The department also
warned Americans to suspend travel plans to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Over the weekend, the State Department urged American citizens to leave Saudi Arabia.
"Control Risks Group does not concur with the State Department's travel
advice," the firm said in an analysis. "We continue to consider that there
is no need for any exceptional travel restrictions or security precautions
for travel to Israel, where security and travel risk ratings remain at
medium. Necessary travel to the West Bank and Gaza ø rated at high security
and travel risk ø remains
acceptable with appropriate security planning and management."
Control Risks Group did not dispute the State Department warning on
Jordan. Earlier, the U.S. embassy in Amman also issued a travel warning for
Jordan. The embassy asserted that terrorist groups were threatening to use
chemical weapons against U.S. interests.
The U.S. warning came after Jordanian state television broadcast a
confession by Islamic insurgents who described plans to launch a CW attack
in Amman. The State Department said Jordan was not known to have indigenous
terrorist groups, but has been targeted by Al Qaida.