US non-essential embassy staff to leave Iraq
Date: 2019-05-15 12:40
The US Embassy in Iraq said Wednesday the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.
The alert, published on the embassy's website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.
"Event: The US State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency US Government employees from Iraq, both at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil. Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended. The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Iraq."
The order covers non-emergency employees at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the US consulate in Irbil in Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan, the embassy added in a statement.
"Normal visa services will be temporarily suspended at both posts," the mission added.
The order comes a day after the US Central Command said that US forces in Iraq and neighboring Syria had been placed on high alert level following "credible threats" from Iranian militias in the region.
"US Central Command, in coordination with Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria," spokesman Bill Urban said.