Iraq is dangerous and there are credible reports foreigners may face the risk of being kidnapped, the State Department said Thursday as it warned U.S. citizens to stay away.

Travel by Americans to Iraq already is limited to journalists and Americans who have resided in the country since Feb. 8, 1991.

In a statement, the department said conditions throughout the country remain unsettled and dangerous. Foreigners have been used as "human shields" in periods of confrontation, the department said.

There was no mention in the advisory of the possibility that the United States may attack Iraq to try to force it to disarm.