The State Department has ordered all non-emergency U.S. personnel to leave Iraq immediately, warning of threats from Iran and rising tension across the region.
The order includes some 5,000 people at the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil.
Just last week the U.S. warned that Iran or its proxies were possibly planning an attack on American forces in the region and sent a carrier strike force and bombers as a show of force.
But there were concerns that actual threats might be over-hyped.
On Tuesday, a British general commanding troops in Iraq told reporters there had been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces.
Within hours, however, U.S. central command issued a rebuttal, saying that the general’s comments run counter to credible threats.
And the State Department also clarified their orders, reporting that the “imminent” threat came from Iraqi militias controlled by Iran.
Iraq is one of fourteen countries where the State Department travel advisory is at level four “do not travel” status.