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May 13, 2021
13-May-2021

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 12 May 2021, protests related to a now-annulled tax proposal continued in the capital Bogota, Barranquilla and other cities. In Bogota, several people gathered at TansMilenio stations — including Portal 80 and Portal de las Americas — for anti-government demonstrations. Police officers and protesters clashed at the Portal de las Americas, with police officers deploying tear gas and water cannons to clear the area and arresting several protesters. In the city of Barranquilla, police officers used tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside Romelio Martinez stadium following clashes. In related developments, the National Unemployment Committee stated that it will send a caravan to Cali on 14 May as a show of solidarity with the city’s protesters.

EUROPE

Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 12 May 2021, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven extended select nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions until 1 June due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The restrictions were scheduled to expire on 17 May. Under the orders, restaurants, bars and cafes must close by 2030 local time (1830 UTC) nightly, and no more than four people per group are allowed inside such establishments. Public gatherings are limited to a maximum of eight people. Additionally, retail businesses are required to limit occupancy to no more than one customer per 10 sq. m (105 sq. ft).

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): As of 13 May 2021, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) continue to launch rockets into Israel for a third consecutive day as the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) responds with airstrikes in Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for the Izz al-din al-Qassam Brigades, which is the military wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, threatened to launch attacks from the Gaza Strip against airports in Israel and called on international airlines to halt flights to Israel. The spokesperson claimed that Hamas will be deploying a new missile, called the Ayyash 250, which the group claims would be able to hit targets anywhere in Israel. At least 83 people have been killed in Gaza and 487 more injured since the beginning of the unrest. Israeli authorities stated that at least seven people have been killed and 200 more injured in rocket attacks.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian militants fired several rockets from the Gaza Strip toward multiple towns in central and northern Israel and along the Gaza-Israel border. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli missile defenses although several rockets struck houses and other targets in the capital Tel Aviv and the surrounding suburbs. IDF airstrikes targeted at least 600 locations — such as high-rise towers, houses and government buildings — throughout the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Electricity Company stated that the airstrikes inflicted significant damage to the electrical grid, causing disruptions to power delivery. Multiple media reports indicate that sporadic clashes between Jewish and Arab civilians occurred in cities throughout Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli defense minister signed an order to deploy additional security forces to assist in stopping the unrest in multiple cities, such as Lod and Be’er Sheva. Clashes also continued in the West Bank between Arabs and Israeli police officers, who deployed tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds. Several thousand Palestinians participated in a protest after Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In related developments, authorities briefly closed Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG/TLV) in Tel Aviv to all incoming commercial flights on two separate occasions due to ongoing rocket attacks, but flights have since resumed. Officials at Ramon Airport (LLER/ETH) also briefly suspended operations due to incoming rocket fire. American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa and United Airlines have all suspended all flights into Ben Gurion International Airport due to the security threats.

 

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Israel (Security threat level – 4): On 12 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Rockets continue to impact the Gaza periphery and areas across Southern and Central Israel. Effectively immediately and until Monday, May 17, U.S. government employees and their family members have been advised to remain close to home and/or close to a bomb shelter during daylight hours, and to remain indoors in their residences until 6:00 a.m. the next day where there are active Red Alerts at night.

“In the event of red alert sirens or active rocket attacks, U.S. citizens should remain sheltered until ten minutes after the last siren. Please follow all guidance from the Israeli Home Front Command.”

To read the full text of the alert, please click here.

Panama (Security threat level – 3): On 12 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Panama City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On May 4, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) announced stricter curfew and lockdown measures for the provinces of Chiriqui and Veraguas due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

  • Effective May 14, curfew hours in Chiriqui and Veraguas will be from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Commercial operations will continue but close at 7:00 p.m.
  • Effective May 16, Chiriqui and Veraguas will be under full lockdown from Saturday at 8:00 p.m. until Monday at 4:00 a.m.

“Additionally, effective May 17, facial screens, as well as masks, will be mandatory on public transportation throughout Panama.

“The rest of Panama remains under nationwide curfew Monday through Sunday from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Additional movement and business restrictions vary by region.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

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