US embassy issues new alert for Iraq as protests expected to increase in size

With exception of Kurdistan Region
Building of the US Embassy in Baghdad (File)

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SULAIMANI — The US Embassy in Baghdad has warned its citizens to avoid traveling to Iraq as protests are expected to increase in size starting on Tuesday (December 10).

The US embassy issued a new alert about the protests in Iraq on Monday, saying the US citizens may see a heavy presence of the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and other southern provinces on Tuesday due to protests and the anniversary of the defeat of Islamic State (ISIS).

“International Zone checkpoints are expected to be closed and traffic disruptions likely,” the embassy stated.

“Do not travel to Iraq,” the embassy said, calling on the US citizens to avoid areas of protests and monitor local media for further information.

The embassy has excluded the Kurdistan Region from its message to the US citizens.

The US has long advised its citizens from traveling to Iraq because of threats associated with terrorism and kidnapping and to take precautions.

The Embassy issued three security alerts in May and last December with similar messages related to the anniversary of announcement of the defeat of Islamic State and the reopening of parts of the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Iraqis took to the streets at the beginning of October to protest of corruption, lack of services, and unemployment, but since then the unrest has become a more general uprising seeking the ouster of the Iraq's political establishment.

Iraqi media reports on Monday that the protests’ supervisors had called for five millions of protesters on the streets from Tuesday as the country’s officials have failed to meet the demands of the protesters.

More than 400 people have been killed in Baghdad and provinces in the south. Thousands have been injured in the unrest as the government and so-called “third party groups” have used live ammunition, snipers, and tear gas in an attempt put down the protests.

(NRT Digital Media)