Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The US State Department said Friday it had ordered
the removal of some diplomatic personnel in the Middle East due to security concerns,
a move that comes amid media reports that US interests could face attacks from
militants as retaliation for American military action in Syria.
A drawdown of “nonemergency” US diplomatic personnel and their families in Beirut,
Lebanon, has been ordered, while a similar measure has been approved for diplomats
and their relatives who wish to leave the southeastern Turkish city of Adana, where
the United States maintains a consulate, the State Department said.
A Friday report in the Wall Street Journal said an Iranian official has told militants in
Iraq to strike US interests in Baghdad should the United States carry out military
action in Syria as a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.
The Iranian order came from Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force, a special unit
of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and was intercepted by American intelligence, the
Journal cited unnamed US officials as saying.
The United States is watchful of an Iranian fleet of small boats in the Persian Gulf
that could threaten US warships there and fears its embassy in Beirut could be
targeted by Hezbollah, the newspaper cited the officials as saying.
The State Department said the removal of diplomatic staff from Lebanon and Turkey
was due to “current tensions in the region, as well as potential threats to US
government facilities and personnel.”
Source: RIA Novosti