US diplomatic authorities in Baghdad ordered on Wednesday, May 15, the departure of all of its non-emergency personnel present at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil, due to heightened regional tensions. The US authorities also warned that visa services at both posts are temporarily suspended and advise to avoid US facilities in Iraq.
A visibly heightened security presence is to be anticipated in the near-term in the vicinity of US sites in the country.
On May 12, the US Embassy in Baghdad issued a security alert advising citizens against traveling to Iraq amid increasing regional tensions, notably with Iran. Both security alerts come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Baghdad on May 7 where he said intelligence indicates that Iran is threatening US interests in the Middle East.
Individuals present in Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, to maintain a heightened degree of situational awareness - particularly when visiting areas frequented by Westerners - and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the local authorities or their security manager.
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