US non-essential embassy staff to leave Iraq

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.

The alert, published on the embassy's website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.

On Sunday, the embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq, citing "heightened tensions."