U.S. embassy in Iraq asks American citizens to depart Iraq ‘immediately’

January 3, 2020 - 20:17

TEHRAN — The U.S. embassy in Iraq has issued a security warning to American citizens to depart Iraq immediately, suspending all public consular operations until further notice.

In a statement released on Friday, the embassy said, “Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.”

It added, “U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. U.S. citizens should not approach the embassy. The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil is open for visa and American Citizen Services appointments, including passport issuance.”

The statement came hours after the United States, authorized by President Trump, fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport.

The attack, conducted by American MQ-9 Reaper drone, killed Major General Qassim Soleimani, who led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), leading to a serious escalation of Trump’s growing confrontation with Tehran.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, dozens of protesters broke into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad after smashing the main door and setting fire to a reception area.

The embassy was evacuated as many angry Iraqi demonstrators gathered outside the gates of the compound to condemn Washington’s earlier attack on al-Hashd al-Shaabi.

On Sunday, U.S. forces had conducted drone strikes on a number of Kata'ib Hezbollah bases in Iraq's western Anbar province, killing at least 25 individuals and leaving another 51 injured, according to PMU.

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