The United States Embassy in Beirut issued a security alert on Friday, January 3, warning US citizens in Lebanon to exercise increased caution, especially in areas frequented by Westerners, following recent events in Iraq. This follows a statement on Friday from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, who stated that the group will seek revenge for the death of Iranian Al-Quds force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad (Iraq) earlier the same day. A heightened security risk is possible for American assets, strategic interests, and individuals within the country.
A heightened security presence is possible across Beirut and in other urban centers throughout Lebanon over the coming days.
The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3, claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW). According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals.
Individuals in Lebanon, particularly US citizens, American businesses, and other American interests should remain on high alert over the coming several days due to increased tensions throughout the region. Individuals are advised to adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.