The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday told American citizens in the country it would be operating at “reduced staffing levels” and suspending routine services Friday following a barrage of Hamas-fired rockets from the Gaza Strip, including an explosion heard in Tel Aviv.

The U.S. Embassy issued the following “security message”:

The U.S. Embassy will be operating at reduced staffing levels on Friday, November 16, and routine consular services are being suspended for that same day.  Embassy families have been asked to not send their children to school on Friday, November 16.  Non-essential official travel by Embassy staff to the south of Israel remains prohibited.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise caution and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety and security in light of the escalating level of violence in Gaza and Israel.  U.S. citizens should pay close attention to their surroundings and news reports, and follow the civil defense guidance provided by the Home Front Command.  The Government of Israel’s Home Front Command website provides information on how to choose a secure space or room in a home or apartment.  Visitors may also seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers.  Please click here for further emergency preparedness guidance provided by the Home Front Command.