Cellular Phone Chargers Used as IEDs

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad warns U.S. citizens that there have recently been incidents of cellular phone chargers being used as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Baghdad. The chargers were left in conspicuous areas on roads and, when found and plugged into an outlet, exploded. These incidents have been reported in the Iraqi news. There have been numerous incidents over the past week that have resulted in injuries to civilians.

U.S. citizens should be aware of this potential threat to their safety. Citizens are advised not to pick up any items left unattended outside, including cell phones, cameras, or mp3 players.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Government personnel throughout Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. Government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates. We urge U.S. citizens to stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Please check our current Travel Warning and Country Specific Information Sheet for further security guidance.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Iraq enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Embassy also offers SMS text alerts delivered to your mobile phone when new security and emergency messages are released.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website at travel.state.gov where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information for Iraq, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler iPhone or Android app to have travel information at your fingertips.

Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

(Source: Embassy of the United States)

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