Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

US Embassy in Iraq advises citizens against all travel amid tensions with Iran

It also told Americans in Iraq to be cautious and keep a low profile

A member of Iraqi federal police forces stands guard infront of a Mosque in Baghdad. EPA
A member of Iraqi federal police forces stands guard infront of a Mosque in Baghdad. EPA

The US embassy in Iraq has issued a warning to its citizens advising them against travelling to the country amid heightened tensions in the region.

The warning advised US citizens in the country to “remain vigilant” and to “keep a low profile”.

The recent incident where four cargo vessels were subjected to "sabotage operations" off the coast of Fujairah, has further intensified response from both residents and officials.

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the attack and stressed the need for the international community to bear the responsibility of maritime trade around the world.

Dr Al Zayani echoed regional calls for more burden sharing on maritime safety by international organisations responsible for naval trade security to help prevent more attacks.

The GCC is highly dependent on maritime trade networks to export oil, a trade that accounts for more than 90 per cent of the Arabian Gulf's economies.

Any disruption to the trade networks have sparked fears of cutting off the major source of revenue for oil producers Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Fujairah port is located close to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic strait that separates Oman’s coast of Musandam from Iran by less than 60 kilometres. About 30 per cent of the world's oil passes through the strait every day.

"Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger," Dr Al Zayani said.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson said the attacks were “alarming and regrettable” according to a statement issued on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said the attacks will disrupt shipping safety and “he warned against plots by ill-wishers to disrupt regional security”.

The statement ended with Mr Mousavi also calling on “the vigilance of regional states in the face of any adventurism by foreign elements”.

It is still unclear who was behind the attacks but the US issued a warning saying that “Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels”.

The UAE is conducting an investigation into the “sabotage”.

Updated: May 13, 2019 02:38 PM

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