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The State Department orders non-emergency workers to leave Iraq in the middle of Iran



The ministry said in a statement that staff working at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil were instructed to leave Iraq and that "normal visa services will be temporarily suspended on both posts".

He added that US Citizens Services employees who worked at the Baghdad Embassy "will continue to provide consular services to US citizens in Basra."

The department said sudden changes were due to the fact that "the US's ability to provide routine and emergency services to US citizens in Iraq is very limited" and that, as a result, the threat of "terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict" is directed at Americans in risk to the country. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Iraq last week as a result of increasing tensions with Iran. While there, Pompeo said he spoke to Iraqi officials "about the importance of Iraq to ensure that it is capable of adequately protecting Americans in their country."

US officials said CNN USA had "specific and credible" intelligence that suggested that Iranian forces and prosecutors plan to direct US forces to cities, including Iraq. This intelligence has led the Pentagon to recommend that a group of shippers move to the region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said Wednesday that Americans "should not travel through Iraq to Syria to engage in armed conflict" because they may face similar threats in Syria. and face "legal risks" from both the United States and Syria.

The Foreign Ministry's orders come the day after the US Central Command, overseeing US military operations in the Middle East, said the Pentagon raised the risk of threatening US troops in Iraq and Syria.

"The US Central Command, in coordination with the Inherent Resolve Operational Resolution, has increased the level of force hold for all OIR service members in Iraq and Syria. As a result, the OIR is now at a high alert level as we continue to closely monitor trusted and possibly immediate threats to US forces in Iraq, "said US Navy spokesman Bill Urban, spokesman for the Central Command.

Mr. Urban's statement also pushed against comments made by the deputy commander on Tuesday. the US military coalition against ISIS, the UK ambassador to Chris Ghik, who said there was no increased threat from Iran's supported forces in Iraq and Syria.

Ryan Browne and Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.


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