The US State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency embassy personnel and their families from its Baghdad and Erbil embassies in Iraq, due to increased security threats against U.S personnel and interests.

The State Department also issued a travel advisory to US citizens, warning them not to go to the Middle Eastern country, due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to US citizens.

The statements come as attacks against U.S forces have spiked in the wake of a widening conflict between the Islamist terror organization Hamas and the Israeli military.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned of an escalated threat to Washington’s interests across the Middle East, adding that Iran could seek to exploit tensions by widening the conflict in Gaza.

Israel has already been tackling Iran-backed Hezbollah militants at its border with Lebanon, and Tehran is also a key ally of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

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