Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP
- The US Department of State has ordered all non-emergency US government employees out of Iraq, a security notice announced Wednesday.
- Evacuating personnel were told to "depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible" and "avoid US facilities within Iraq."
- The decision comes amid rising tensions with Iran, which the US recently accused of plotting attacks on US interests in the region.
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The US Department of State sent out a notice Wednesday ordering all non-emergency US government employees to leave Iraq immediately.
Without giving a reason for the partial evacuation, the notice said that employees should "depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible" and "avoid US facilities within Iraq."
US employees are being pulled out of both the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Irbil.
State provided some additional clarity after the release of the notice, explaining that "given the increased threat stream we are seeing in Iraq, … the secretary has decided to place Mission Iraq on ordered departure," CNN reported.
In September, the Trump administration made the decision to pull US government employees out of the US consulate in Basra, southern Iraq, in the aftermath of a rocket attack carried out by Shiite militias linked to Iran. The attack did not cause any injuries.
The order comes amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, which have been on the rise since President Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last May.
Last week, the US accused Iran of plotting attacks on US interests in the region.
To respond to this threat — details of which have yet to be presented — the US military deployed an aircraft carrier and accompanying strike group, bomber task force, and other assets to the US Central Command area of responsibility.
The US has warned Iran, which denies the allegations against it, that any attack on US forces or interests will be met with "unrelenting force." Trump personally has warned that Iran will "suffer greatly" if it targets the US with any act of aggression.
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