Violence in Iraq 'at levels unseen since 2007,' warns State Department

As Iraqi militants lay siege to Mosul, Tikrit, and Baijia, the U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning on Wednesday to caution Americans against unnecessary travel to Iraq.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   June 11, 2014 at 7:30 PM

WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning on Wednesday, cautioning U.S. citizens against unnecessary travel to Iraq.

"... terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country at levels unseen since 2007."

The warning follows a surge of Islamist militant seizures of Iraqi cities, including Mosul and parts of Tikrit.

"Iraqi forces are conducting military operations in Ninewah and Anbar Provinces against insurgent and terrorist organizations that have occupied territory and cities within those provinces," the State Department noted Wednesday.

"Fighting has been especially intense in the Northern Iraq city of Mosul with ISIL reportedly taking control of sections of Mosul including government facilities. Baghdad International Airport has been struck by mortar rounds and rockets, and the Mosul International Airport has been the target of militant assault."

In short, the State Department emphasized, "U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence" and U.S. Embassy Baghdad "is extremely limited" in its ability to respond to emergencies concerning U.S. citizens.

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