Government officials warn travellers of visiting Middle Eastern countries

As tension in the Middle East increases, both Canadian and U.S. government officials have issued multiple warnings, urging travellers to exert extreme caution if visiting the region. On Feb. 24, 2015, the U.S. Department of State issued two specific letters of caution for anyone considering travelling to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

For Saudi Arabia, the report addressed multiple instances in which security lapses occurred in the past several months. Specific cases included one account of two U.S. citizens who were shot at while visiting Al-Ahsa Governorate. Another case involved a Canadian national who was attacked and assaulted at a Dhahran shopping mall on Nov. 29, 2014. The warnings specifically urged westerners to avoid nonessential travel to Saudi Arabia for the time being. 

Pakistan has long been a country U.S. government officials have urged foreign visitors to avoid. This comes from the growing threat and presence of terrorist groups in the country. International airports have commonly been targeted for attacks, and the report referenced multiple instances in which main airports experienced security breaches and violence. On June 24, 2014, gunmen engaged in fire at Peshawar's International Airport, injuring multiple visitors. Another airport attack in Pakistan took place on June 8, 2014, when the Karachi's Jinnah International Airport was attacked for two consecutive days, resulting in 19 deaths.

The Canadian government has also issued multiple warnings.

"Although the security situation is improving in some countries, there is always a risk of deteriorating conditions and of visitors finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time," officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada stated. "Canadians should monitor local news reports, avoid public gatherings and demonstrations, as they may become violent without warning, and follow the advice of local authorities."

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