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US Orders Non-Essential Embassy Staff to Leave Iraq Amid Iran Tensions

US Orders Non-Essential Embassy Staff to Leave Iraq Amid Iran Tensions

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 10:45
In this Thursday, May 9, 2019 photo released by the US Navy, Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Jason Caldwell, assigned to the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron 103, observes sunrise on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln while transiting the Suez Canal in Egypt. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley, US Navy via AP)
Baghdad- Asharq Al-Awsat
The US Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.

The alert, published on the embassy’s website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.

On Sunday, the embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq, citing “heightened tensions.”

Meanwhile, the German government said the country's military has suspended training of Iraqi soldiers due to tensions in the region between the US and Iran but has no indication of any specific threat to its own troops.

German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff says that Germany is "orienting itself toward our partner countries, which have taken this step."

But he stressed that "there is no concrete threat" and the decision is down to the security situation in general being viewed as more tense.

Germany currently has about 160 German soldiers in Iraq as part of the fight against the ISIS group, about 60 of them at a base north of Baghdad where Iraqi forces are being trained.

Flosdorff said that training could in principle resume within days.

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