US Issues New Iraq Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains very dangerous given the security situation. The ability of the Embassy to assist U.S. citizens facing difficulty, including arrest, is extremely limited.

Private U.S. citizens are strongly discouraged from traveling to Iraq to join in armed conflict. The Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulates General in Basrah and Erbil are open and operating. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated October 19, 2015.

U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.  Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles, human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads, mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons.

When such attacks occur, they frequently take place in public gathering places such as cafes, markets, and other public venues.

Numerous insurgent groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country.  ISIL controls Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as well as significant territory in northern, western, and central Iraq, particularly along the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, and the group continues to attack Iraqi security forces in those areas.

Terrorist attacks within the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) occur less frequently than in other parts of Iraq, although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), U.S. Government facilities, and western interests remain possible targets, as evidenced by the April 17 bombing in the public area outside U.S. Consulate General Erbil.  In addition, anti-U.S. sectarian militias may threaten U.S. citizens and western companies throughout Iraq.

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