MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has evacuated some consulate staff members from the Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil for security reasons, Agence France-Presse reported Monday, with reference to US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The US authorities have “temporarily relocated a limited number of staff from Consulate in Arbil to our consulate in Basra (southern Iraq) and to the Iraq support unit in Amman, Jordan,” she was quoted as saying by AFP.
“While security concerns remain extremely high in Iraq, this limited move today is out of an abundance of caution rather than any one specific threat,” she said.
However, she pointed out that the majority of the staff remained in place and the US consulate in Arbil continued to operate normally.
Late on Thursday, the US authorities launched a series of airstrikes targeting the positions of Islamic State (IS) militants fighting in Iraq against Kurdish forces defending the city of Arbil. President Barack Obama also authorized humanitarian aid to Yazidi Kurds, one of the minority groups in Iraq repressed by IS fighters.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria and launched an offensive in Iraq in June. The group has taken over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad. Also in June, the group announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.