Entry/Exit: UPDATE 1: Operations at US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, proceeding normally Dec. 30 following media reports of staff evacuation Dec. 29.
Severity: Warning Alert
This alert affects Baghdad
This alert began 30 Dec 2019 15:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Dec 2019 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: US embassy operations
- Location: Baghdad (map)
- Date: Dec. 30
Operations at the US Embassy in Baghdad are uninterrupted Dec. 30 following media reports Dec. 29 of a staff evacuation. Several media reports indicated Dec. 29 that the US embassy was evacuating its staff following airstrikes against several Kata'ib Hizballah or Hizballah Brigades' military positions in Iraq and Syria, Dec. 29.
Background and Analysis
Kata'ib Hizballah is a Shi'a paramilitary group that is closely linked to Iran. The US airstrikes killed 25 members of the Shi'a group; Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis - one of its prominent leaders - has vowed to avenge their deaths.
The recent security incidents take place amid ongoing heightened tensions between Iran, the US, and its allies. Several similar incidents have occurred in recent months in Baghdad. On Oct. 30, two mortar shells struck the International (Green) Zone, killing an Iraqi soldier and injuring several others. On Nov. 29, a mortar shell struck the Green Zone but left no casualties.
These incidents also coincide with ongoing violent nationwide anti-government protests that began Oct. 1. Clashes between protesters and security forces have left hundreds of protesters dead and thousands injured. The ongoing demonstrations have raised concerns that militia and militant groups may exploit the instability to increase the pace and severity of their attacks.
If operating in Iraq, exercise extreme caution. Maintain contact with your diplomatic mission. Carry proper identification and travel documents. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by security personnel. Remain alert to your surroundings at all times.
US Embassy and Consulates in Iraq: iq.usembassy.gov
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