State Dept Urges US Citizens To Leave Iraq After Trump-Authorized Strike On Iranian Leader

US President Donald Trump makes a video call to the troops stationed worldwide at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on December 24, 2019. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump authorized a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq that assassinated a top Iranian official, according to multiple reports.

The U.S. State Department is now urging all U.S. citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately as the region braces for possible retaliation from the Iranian military.

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately,” the State Department said in a statement posted early Friday. “U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.”

The drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, a top military official with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. According to multiple reports, Trump personally called for the attack. Late Thursday evening the Pentagon confirmed the strike had killed Soleimani. At least seven others are believed to be dead as well. According to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the attack came in response to ongoing strikes from an Iranian-backed militia against U.S. forces in the region, including an attack last week that left one U.S. civilian dead and four American service members injured. The years-long ongoing strikes are believed to have been orchestrated by Soleimani.

“Gen. Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement Friday. “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”

Iranian officials, however, are characterizing the strike as an act of terrorism. The country’s foreign minister Javad Zarif tweeted Friday saying the move was a “foolish escalation.”

An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said publicly Friday that Iran would retaliate against U.S. troops in the area, whom he called “insidious beasts.”

“I am telling Americans, especially Trump, we will take a revenge that will change their daylight into a nighttime darkness,” Khamenei adviser Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, according to multiple reports.

Trump has been at odds with Iran throughout his entire presidency, notably pulling the U.S. out of an Obama-era nuclear peace treaty with Iran in May 2018.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: