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US orders non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq

IANS  |  Washington 

The on Wednesday ordered the departure of non-emergency employees from amid increasing tensions with and warned American citizens not to travel to the country, citing a "high risk for violence and kidnapping".

The announcement comes on the heels of Mike Pompeo's unannounced trip to where he said he spoke to officials about the country's ability to protect Americans.

The action also represents the latest manoeuvering by the Donald administration in the Middle East, where the has positioned a group and a bomber task force, reported.

The department said in a statement that employees working in the in and the in Erbil were instructed to leave and that "will be temporarily suspended at both posts".

According to the statement, employees who were working in the Embassy in "will continue to provide to US citizens in Basra".

The department said the sudden changes came due to the US government's "ability to provide to US citizens in Iraq is extremely limited" and that as a result, the threat of "terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict" aimed at Americans in the country was too great a risk.

It added that Americans "should not travel through Iraq to to engage in armed conflict" as they may face similar threats there and face "legal risks" from both and

The orders from the State Department come a day after US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, said that the has increased the threat risk for US troops in Iraq and

There is a tense situation in the after decided not to re-issue the sanctions waivers for major importers to continue buying Iran's when they expired in early May.



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First Published: Wed, May 15 2019. 19:38 IST