With the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria advancing toward Baghdad, the State Department is drawing up contingency plans for a possible evacuation of the U.S. Embassy there, according to a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today attended a classified briefing on Iraq.
“It’s a rapidly deteriorating and grave situation in Iraq,” Nelson said in a statement.
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.
Officials from U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base declined to comment on the situation in Iraq. Centcom oversaw military efforts in Iraq from the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March, 2003, until the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011, after the failure of efforts to establish a bilateral security agreement.
Current U.S. efforts in Iraq are headed up by the State Department.
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