US embassy in Baghdad warns employee against increasing abduction threats

The US embassy in the Iraqi capital has cautioned its employees from moving beyond the security zone pointing out threats of kidnapping after a Shia paramilitary militia accused the US-led coalition of killing dozens of its fighters in airstrikes and ground attacks near border with Syria early this week.

“In response, the US Embassy has temporarily restricted movement of its employees outside of the international zone in Baghdad,” the embassy said in a statement.

The warning came following deaths of over 40 fighters of Martyrs of Sayyid, a brigade member of Hashed al-Shaabi militia fighting the side of the Iraqi army in its push against the Islamic State group (IS).

The militia Tuesday said the US-led coalition had coordinated attacks against its forces near Mosul, an IS-held town captured by the Iraqi army last month.

Colonel Ryan Dillon of the coalition denied that the international forces targeted the militiamen.

Despite denial by the coalition, the pro-Iran forces vowed to respond to strikes.

“We guarantee the attack will not go unpunished, and we call upon all Islamic resistance units in Iraq to consider an appropriate response,” the militia said in a statement.

The New Arab reports that a large group of security agents from the Iraqi army, federal police and anti-terrorism group arrived at the embassy on Thursday morning.
This group set up a heavy security perimeter outside the embassy, restricting cars and personnel from reaching near the embassy, the Qatari London-based media further notes.


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