ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US Embassy in Baghdad has announced it will restrict the movement of its employees in Baghdad and Basrah due to heightened threats and concerns.
In a statement on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Baghdad warned its employees against traveling outside Baghdad’s International Zone (IZ), also known as the Green Zone, and the US Consulate in Basrah due to security concerns.
“The US Embassy Baghdad is aware of reports of threats to target U.S. government officials and other civilians for kidnapping,” the statement said.
“In response, the US Embassy has temporarily restricted movement of its employees outside of the international zone in Baghdad, as well as outside of the Basrah US Consulate,” the statement added.
The statement also reminded US citizens in Iraq to “maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq.”
The statement did not outline restrictions or issue any new warnings for US citizens and diplomatic mission employees in the Kurdistan Region.
“US citizens remain at high risk of kidnapping and terrorist violence in Iraq,” the statement concluded.
Although the statement makes no mention of it, the warning follows threats recently issued by both Sayyid al-Shuhada, a Shia militia group within the umbrella of the Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), and the Islamic State (IS)
On Monday, Sayyid al-Shuhada claimed an alleged US airstrike targeted their position on the Iraqi-Syrian border, killing and wounding a large number of their fighters.
“We guarantee the attack will not go unpunished, and we call upon all Islamic resistance units in Iraq to consider an appropriate response to such a criminal act,” the militia group said in a statement.
On Wednesday, IS published a new video in which the militant group threatened new attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad as well as Tehran.
The jihadists in the 25-minute long video, the first of its kind since IS was defeated in Mosul, called on youths in Iraq “cut off the heads” of the “enemy,” and threatened to “spill blood” in Baghdad, and the Shia districts of Najaf and Karbala.
Editing by G.H. Renaud