Washington orders some US government employees to leave Baghdad, Erbil

Normal visa services suspended temporarily
A US flag flies in front of the Annex I building inside the compound of the US embassy in Baghdad December 14, 2011. Reuters

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SULAIMANI — The United States has ordered “non-emergency US government employees” to leave Baghdad and Erbil, the US embassy in Baghdad said in a statement on Wednesday (May 15).

“The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil,’ the statement read.

The US Embassy in Baghdad also said normal visa services at both posts would be temporarily suspended.

“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq,” it added.

“Depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible [and] avoid U.S. facilities within Iraq,” the US embassy said in a security alert.

The order came just two days after the US had warned its citizens to avoid traveling to Iraq due to “heightened tensions” in the country.

It is likely that this latest security alert is related to tensions between the United States and Iran, given the significant involvement of both countries in Iraq.

(NRT Digital Media)

*Updated at 12:05 p.m. EBL time