US urges citizens to leave Iraq immediately as tensions escalate

US urges citizens to leave Iraq immediately as tensions escalate

- The United States has issued travel advisory to its citizens in Iraq

- The State Department issued the security alert after Iran promised retaliation against the US for an airstrike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani

- The US says all consular operations are suspended in Iraq due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at its embassy compound

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The United States on Friday, 3 January urged its citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately over security concerns.

The State Department issued the security alert after Iran promised harsh retaliation against the United States for an airstrike that killed top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, at the Baghdad International Airport.

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately,” the State Department said in a tweet.

The security alert also stated that all consular operations are suspended in Iraq due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US embassy compound.

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Briefly.co.za reported earlier that President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of a key Iranian military commander, Qasem Soleimani.

The strike comes after the US embassy was attacked in Banghdad on New Year's Day. According to CNN, Soleimani headed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit and he was considered to be the second most powerful man in the country.

The Pentagon confirmed the attack, adding it was a "decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad" and was intended to deter "future Iranian attack plans".

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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