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US to evacuate Baghdad embassy staff

Published on Jun 16, 2014 6:17 AM
Iraqi tribes men carry their weapons as they gather, volunteering to fight along side the Iraqi security forces against Jihadist militants who have taken over several northern Iraqi cities, in the capital Baghdad, on June 15 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US embassy in Baghdad is evacuating personnel and increasing military security after militants captured vast swathes of territory and advanced toward the capital, officials said on Sunday.

It was unclear how many staff members would be evacuated from the mission. Located within the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses much of the international presence in the city, the US embassy is the largest in the world.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the staff would only be "temporarily relocated" to US consulates in Basra in the south and Arbil in the northern Kurdish territories.

Neither area is currently threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants.

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