New US Embassy in Jerusalem to open in May
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New US Embassy in Jerusalem to open in May

White House officials say the controversial move is planned to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence

Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of Jerusalem

The new US embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence, White House officials said.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has approved the security plan for the new embassy, while US congress is being notified of the impending move on Friday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for mid-May.

Israel proclaimed independence on May 14 1948.

The May opening marks a significant acceleration. US vice president Mike Pence had said previously the embassy would open by the end of 2019, while Mr Tillerson had said it could take years.

Initially, the embassy will consist of just a few offices inside an existing US facility in Jerusalem.

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