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Leave Iraq immediately, US tells citizens

"Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. US citizens should not approach the Embassy."


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Qasem Soleimani (Photo Credit: Time)

As tensions between the United States and Iran escalates over the killing of Iran’s top military commander in an airstrike, the United States is asking all its citizens in Iraq to leave Iraq and the region.

A statement by the US State Department added that "due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. US citizens should not approach the Embassy."

Tensions heightened on Friday after Iran threatened retaliation following an airstrike operation that led to the killing of Qasem Soleimani early Friday.

The operation was entirely planned by the US military, after a go-ahead by the US President Donald Trump. He was killed at Baghdad airport, alongside local Iran-backed militias.

Also, read WWIII: 4 things you need to know about the US killing of Iran's most powerful military commander

The Iranian authorities said they are determined to exact revenge on the killing of the officer. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the attack while announcing three days of national mourning.

Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said Iran would take "vigorous revenge on America". A spokesman for the Iranian government said the country's top security body would meeting in a few hours to discuss the "criminal act of attack", reports the BBC.

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