Defense

US Embassy urges Americans to flee Iraq 'immediately' following Soleimani killing

Key Points
  • The targeted killing of Major-General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has drawn promises of retaliation from Tehran.
  • In a security alert issued Friday morning, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq has told American citizens to "depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land."
Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces) fighters set the U.S. Embassy wall on fire as they protest to condemn air strikes on their bases, in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019.
Thaier al-Sudani | Reuters

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has urged American citizens to "depart Iraq immediately" after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran's top military commander, spiking tension in Iraq and the Middle East.

In a security alert issued Friday morning, the U.S. Embassy told citizens to "depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land."

The targeted killing of Major-General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has drawn promises of retaliation from Tehran.

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Qasem Soleimani's death creates a global problem

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that the move was a "foolish escalation," while Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami was quoted by state news agency IRNA as threatening a "crushing revenge."

Following attacks by Iranian-backed militias on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, all public consular operations have been suspended until further notice, while U.S. citizens have been advised not to approach the Embassy.

Soleimani was killed by a U.S. military airstrike at Baghdad's international airport on Thursday, a move the Pentagon confirmed was directed by U.S. President Donald Trump.