© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iraqi students gather during a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Baghdad, Iraq, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad/File photo

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said on Sunday U.S. citizens should not travel to Iraq after recent attacks on American troops and personnel in the region.

The travel advisory says, “Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.”

There has been a spike in attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza broke out. Last week, a U.S. warship shot down more than a dozen drones and four cruise missiles fired by Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen.

The advisory followed the ordered departure of eligible family members and non-emergency U.S. government personnel from U.S. Embassy Baghdad and U.S. Consulate General Erbil “due to increased security threats against U.S. personnel and interests,” the State Department said in a statement.

Washington is on heightened alert for activity by Iran-backed groups as regional tensions soar during the Israel-Hamas war, which began after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,400 people.

Israel has since retaliated with deadly air strikes on Gaza, a 45 km-long (25-mile) strip of land that is part of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and home to 2.3 million people that has been ruled politically since 2006 by Hamas. Israel’s air strikes have killed over 4,700 people, Palestinian officials say.

“Because of security concerns, U.S. government personnel in Baghdad are instructed not to use Baghdad International Airport,” the State Department said on Sunday.

The United States has sent a significant amount of naval power to the Middle East in recent weeks, including two aircraft carriers, their support ships and about 2,000 Marines.

The U.S. will send a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and additional Patriot air defense missile system battalions to the Middle East, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

Source link

Previous articleWelcome to the age of the hermit consumer
Next articleClient data: Banks now fret over liability


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here