US steps up embassy security in Iraq

US steps up embassy security in Iraq

The US said Sunday that it was boosting security for its embassy in Baghdad amid worsening situation in Iraq as Islamic militants were sweeping across the northern part of the country.

"As a result of ongoing instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq, embassy Baghdad is reviewing its staffing requirements in consultation with the State Department," Xinhua quoted spokesperson Jennifer Psaki as saying in a statement.

"Some additional US government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad," she said, noting some staff members will be temporarily sent to the US consulates general in southeastern Iraqi city of Basra and Erbil in northern Iraq, or to Jordan's capital city of Amman.

"Overall, a substantial majority of the US embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission," she added.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, is advancing on Baghdad, Iraq's capital, and engaging in clashes with Iraqi security forces after seizing two major cities - - Mosul and Tikrit -- in northern Iraq in recent days.

The Obama administration said it was mulling a range of options in support of Baghdad including airstrikes as requested by the Iraqi government, but would not send in US troops on the ground.

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