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May 18, 2021
18-May-2021

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4) : Nationwide demonstrations over income inequality, police brutality and youth unemployment are expected to continue for a 21st consecutive day on 18 May 2021. Representatives of the government and the National Strike Committee are scheduled to continue negotiations on 20 May. President Ivan Duque has ordered security forces to lift at least 36 of the demonstrators’ nationwide roadblocks, as they have caused shortages of food and fuel in some areas of the country. According to Duque, roadblocks must be lifted “with strict adherence to human rights.” Additionally, Duque announced that the government will subsidize 25% of the minimum wage for all workers between the ages of 18 and 28, in order to encourage employers to hire young workers.

On 17 May 2021, protesters clashed with police officers in multiple cities. The officers used tear gas to disperse demonstrations in the cities of Buenaventura, Cali, Cartago and Soacha. In the town of Yumbo, a suburb located north of Cali, police officers used tear gas to disperse protesters from areas throughout the city. Two explosions occurred in the vicinity of the Ecopetrol and Primax fuel facilities located in the La Estancia sector of the town after protesters set fire to vehicles and propane cylinders. There were no reports of injuries as a result of the explosions. Authorities stated that at least two people were killed and 34 others were injured during overnight clashes in the town.

Meanwhile, the police commander for the city of Cali resigned due to threats on his life in response to the unrest in the city and port officials in Buenaventura stated that at least 270,000 tons (245,000 metric tons) of cargo remains stranded in the city’s port due to the road blockades.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): As of 18 May 2021, Tropical Cyclone Tauktae continues to weaken as it moves inland through Gujarat state after making landfall during the evening of 17 May. The storm inflicted significant damage throughout the state, including to at least 16,500 houses, and caused power outages that affected approximately 2,500 villages in its path. Reports indicate the storm knocked down trees and power lines in Mumbai and other areas. Tauktae also damaged several roadways and caused flooding in areas near rivers that rose above their banks. Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing in all affected areas. The government deployed six search and rescue teams from the Indian army to assist in relief operations. The Indian navy rescued at least 180 people from a stranded barge off the coast of the city of Mumbai, while 80 more remain missing. Electricity to Goa state will be restored on 19 May, according to the Goa Electricity Department. At least 26 people have died from the effects of the storm, while the number of injuries remains unknown. Tauktae has weakened to a tropical depression, and is expected to dissipate by 19 May.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Palestinian Territories / Israel (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): As of 18 May 2021, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and other militant groups continue to launch rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, while the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to launch airstrikes against militant targets in Gaza. Thus far, Hamas militants have launched multiple rockets at towns along the Gaza-Israel border and in central Israel following a five-hour pause to allow humanitarian access to the bombarded areas. The Palestinian mortar attacks killed two people in the Israeli city of Eshkol and wounded 10 others; details regarding Palestinian casualties are unknown at this time.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Palestinian media reports indicate that clashes occurred between youths and Israeli police at the Shuafat camp checkpoint in Jerusalem and in the city of Jayus. Additionally, Israeli forces disrupted an attempted attack on Israeli soldiers in the city of Hebron. Security personnel shot and killed a Palestinian militant armed with an improvised firearm, a knife and an improvised explosive device (IED). Meanwhile, The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel began a general strike in coordination with the Fatah movement in the West Bank, which has called for a day of rage against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and called on supporters of the movement in Israel to join the strike. Thus far, there have been reports of clashes between Israeli security forces and several hundred protesters at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, but there have been no reports of larger demonstrations. Meanwhile, the Israeli government extended the nighttime curfew in the city of Lod until at least 20 May, due to the heightened threat of ethnic unrest.

Earlier on 17 May, unidentified individuals fired at least six rockets from the area of the Lebanese village of Aadaysit Marjaayoun – located approximately 40 km (25 mi) east of Tyre — toward the Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am, located on the border with Lebanon approximately 115 km northeast of Haifa. Reports indicate that all the rockets landed on the Lebanese side of the border. The IDF stated that its artillery forces fired toward the source of the rockets. There were no reports of casualties in the attack. Israeli forces also shot down a drone near the border with Jordan, but it is unclear if the drone was launched from Jordan or nearby Syria.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 17 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “There are media reports circulating that groups are calling for protests on Tuesday, May 18th, against the constitutional referendum and kidnapping. Others may be taking to the streets to celebrate Haitian Flag Day. Areas that may be affected include, but are not limited to: Downtown/Champs de Mars, Carrefour Aeroport, Nazon, Lalue, Bourdon, Juvenat, Delmas, and Petionville.”

Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 18 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “We are aware that U.S. citizens in Gaza have been impacted by the current security situation. The situation remains fluid. As of Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the Rafah Border Crossing from Gaza into Egypt will be open from 9am to 4pm, Sunday to Thursday. The Erez Crossing remains closed at this time and we do not have any information on when it might reopen.”

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

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 17 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On May 12, 2021 the Government of Tunisia announced new COVID-19 measures:

  • From May 17 through June 6, a curfew is in effect from 22:00 to 5:00 daily. During curfew hours, all non-emergency movements are prohibited.
  • Intercity and inter-governorate travel is permitted as of May 14.
  • Schools are back in session as of May 17, and universities are back in session as of May 19.
  • Dormitories, mosques, and malls are open as of May 16.
  • Coffee shops and restaurants are now open to 30% capacity in closed areas and 50% in open-air spaces

“U.S. citizens in Tunisia should respect the curfews, adhere to local government regulations, and monitor local media for any updates.”

Yemen (Security threat level – 5): On 17 May 2021, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an updated Maritime Advisory, which reads in part as follows: “a)Conflict in Yemen continues to pose a risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels in the Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden. Threats may come from a variety of different sources including, but not limited to, missiles, rockets, projectiles, mines, small arms, unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned surface vessels, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. These threat vectors continue to pose a direct or collateral risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels transiting in international shipping lanes, or otherwise operating in the region.

“b)Additionally, piracy poses a threat in the Gulf of Aden, Western Arabian Sea, and Western Indian Ocean. Specific case details are available at the Office of Naval Intelligence’s “Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS)” website at https://go.usa.gov/x7J7R.”

To read the full text of the advisory please click here.

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