Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The USA said Sunday it was evacuating most staff from its Baghdad embassy and increasing security as explosions rocked the Iraqi capital and advancing ISIL fighters released images appearing to show its followers massacring captured Iraqi soldiers.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement that an undisclosed number of staffers will be moved to Amman, Jordan, or U.S. consulates elsewhere in Iraq not immediately threatened by the insurgent terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
News of the US Embassy’s contingency plans to evacuate were first reported by IraqiNews.com on Thursday.
The embassy will remain fully operational with “some additional U.S. government security personnel,” the State Department said. The embassy, inside the Green Zone near the Tigris River, employs thousands of people, some local hires and others from the United States.
The State Department issued a travel warning for Iraq Sunday night that cautioned U.S. citizens to avoid “all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation.” Violence in many regions of the country is as intense as it’s been since 2007, the warning said.