State Department urges US citizens to leave Iraq immediately

The State Department issued a security alert early Friday morning urging Americans in Iraq to leave the country immediately.

The warning comes hours after Iran promised “harsh retaliation” against the United States for an airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport.

IRAN VOWS 'HARSH RETALIATION' AFTER US AIRSTRIKE KILLS IRANIAN GEN. QASSEM SOLEIMANI

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire while U.S. soldiers fired tear gas during a sit-in in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire while U.S. soldiers fired tear gas during a sit-in in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately,” the State Department said in the alert.

The alert also said all consular operations are suspended at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad “Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound.”

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“U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy," the alert said.