As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria seeks to continue its blitzkrieg in northern Iraq, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is beefing up security and moving some staff from the embassy compound.
The move comes as 15 people were killed and 30 more wounded in bombings across Iraq’s capital, despite a claim by Brig. Gen. Saad Maan of the Baghdad Operational Command the city was “100 percent secure.”
Other Americans, like contractors training the Iraqi military already have been evacuated from the country,the New York Times reported. The Baghdad Embassy is the largest U.S. Embassy in the world.
“Embassy Baghdad is reviewing its staffing requirements in consultation with the State Department,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “Some additional U.S. government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated -- both to our Consulate Generals in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman.”
Psaki urged U.S. citizens in Iraq to “exercise caution and limit travel” to Anbar, Ninawa, Salah ad-Din, Diyala and Kirkuk provinces.
Reports from Iraq say Iraqi forces have stalled the advance of jihadis about 30 miles north of Baghdad. The radical Islamists made large gains last week in a major offensive compounded by Iraqi soldiers abandoning their posts. ISIS took to social media on Saturday to show off their “war spoils” of equipment captured from the Iraqi military.
Iran moved in 2,000 more troops to accompany their contingent of Revolutionary Guard troops in Iraq to fight ISIS. BBC's Andrew Neil says Iran is taking over command of the Iraqi military.
Major-General Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s elite Quds force, is now running operations, say Iraqi officials.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) June 15, 2014
Some 750,000 predominantly Shiite Iraqis volunteered to fight radical insurgents after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on Iraqis to fight ISIS. Iraqi officials said deserters will be punished by death, according to USA Today.
The Iraqi military claims it destroyed 50 ISIS cars and killed 279 ISIS insurgents in the last day of fighting.