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The New Arab

US orders some government employees to leave Iraq

On Thursday, rockets hit Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 March, 2020

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The US embassy in Baghdad said the State Department ordered certain diplomatic staff out of Iraq on the same day two rockets the capital's Green Zone.
The US State Department ordered the departure of some diplomatic staff out of Iraq due to "a combination of security conditions and restricted travel options as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic", the US embassy in Baghdad said in a Thursday statement.

The announcement came on the same day two rockets hit the Iraqi capital's Green Zone, the high-security enclave that houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

"[T]he State Department has ordered the departure of designated U.S. Government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center, and the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil," the statement reads.

The State Department said the US government has "limited ability" to provide emergency services to US citizens in Iraq, adding that the US embassy in Baghdad is not providing public services.

As of Saturday, Iraq has reported at least 458 cases, with 40 deaths.

On Friday, the Iraqi government announced it will extend a countrywide lockdown it imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic until April 11.

Schools, universities, shopping centres and other large gathering places will remain closed, as will the country's international airports.

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