The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is preparing contingency plans to evacuate its employees if necessary now that one of the deadliest Islamic militant groups in the region has taken control of large swaths of Iraq, a U.S. official told TheBlaze.
Mortar rounds and rockets have hit Baghdad International Airport and Mosul’s airport has been the target of militant assault. The State Department advisory warned U.S. citizens to avoid public gathering places because of the high risk of kidnapping and terrorist violence.
When asked about what plans are being made for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Ryan Brown, a spokesman for Nelson, said “Sen. Nelson has already inquired and there are contingency plans being made for a possible evacuation.”
State Department officials referred questions to a news briefing scheduled this afternoon.
The al-Qaida offshoot group known as ISIS has already captured the Iraq cities of Mosul and Tikrit and is heading toward Baghdad.
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Americans were being evacuated from a base in Balad, which had been one of the largest training missions in Iraq.
The three planeloads of Americans are mostly contractors and civilians, and were still in the process of being evacuated Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Two senior intelligence sources, though, told Fox News there is serious concern about how to evacuate other Americans out of Iraq if the situation further deteriorates.
“We need places to land, we need safe and secure airfields,” one source said, noting that the militants are “seizing airfields and they have surface-to-air missiles, which very clearly threatens our pilots and planes if we do go into evacuation mode.”
Sources said “all western diplomats in Iraq are in trouble,” and American allies are scrambling to put together an evacuation plan. Military officials said there are “not a lot of good options.”
There aren’t going to be many good options when you ignore Al Qaeda until it does something that you can no longer ignore. That’s how Bill Clinton paved the road to September 11. Now Obama has done it again in Iraq.