WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department on Friday urged U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon "because of ongoing safety and security concerns."

It also advised U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon that they should "understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks."

"Sudden outbreaks of violence can occur at any time in Lebanon, and armed clashes have occurred in major cities," the State Department said in a statement, adding that the Lebanese government could not guarantee the safety of U.S. citizens there.

It cited cross-border conflicts with Syria and Israel, anti-Western violence, suicide bombers and kidnapping, among other risks.  

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Sandra Maler)