Security Bolstered At US Embassy In Baghdad
Security at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was bolstered and some staff members were being moved out of Iraq’s capital city as it was threatened by the advance of an al-Qaida inspired insurgency, a State Department spokeswoman said Sunday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement that much of U.S. embassy staff will stay in place even as parts of the country experience instability and violence. She did not say the number of personnel affected. The embassy is within the Baghdad’s Green Zone. It has about 5,000 personnel, making it the largest U.S. diplomatic post in the world.
‘‘Overall, a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission,’’ she said.
Some embassy staff members have been temporarily moved elsewhere to more stable places at consulates in Basra in the Shiite-dominated south of Iraq and Irbil in the Kurdish semi-autonomous region in northeastern Iraq and to Jordan, she said.
U.S. travelers in the country were encouraged to exercise caution and limit travel to certain parts of Iraq.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement that a ‘‘small number’’ of military personnel are helping to keep State Department facilities safe in Baghdad. He said embassy personnel are being moved by commercial, charter and State Department aircraft. But, Kirby says, the U.S. military has ‘‘airlift assets at the ready’’ should the State Department request them. A military official said about 150 Marines have been sent to Baghdad to help with embassy security