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U.S. warns citizens not to travel to Iraq

In June, the United States said it had moved some staff from the giant U.S. embassy in Baghdad to Erbil

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The Department of State reiterated on Saturday its warning to U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq, describing the situation in the country as “remaining dangerous.”

While the embassy in the capital Baghdad and consulate in the Kurdish Erbil are still open and operating, the Department of State said in a statement that it “has relocated a limited number of staff members from the Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate General in Erbil to the Consulate General in Basra and the Iraq Support Unit in [Jordan’s capital] Amman.”

The Department of State said “U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.”

It also said al-Qaeda breakaway group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country.”

Limited yet indefinite U.S. strikes have recently begun targeting ISIS fighters in northern Iraq especially to help ethnic minorities groups escape after these militants made more territorial gains.

Meanwhile, the Department of State advised U.S. citizens to avoid areas near the Syrian, Turkish, or Iranian borders, which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined.