United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
July 23, 2007
This Travel Warning updates the current security situation and reiterates the dangers of the use of civilian aircraft and road travel within Iraq. This supersedes the Travel Warning of August 28, 2006.
The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Ba’ath regime, transnational terrorists, criminal elements and numerous insurgent groups remain active. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or “Green”) Zone. Targets include convoys en-route to venues, hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel. These attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries of American citizens, including those doing humanitarian work. In addition, there have been planned and random killings, as well as extortions and kidnappings. Several U.S. citizens subsequently were murdered by terrorists. U.S. citizens and other foreigners are targeted by insurgent groups and criminals for kidnapping and murder. Military operations continue. There are daily attacks against Multinational Forces – Iraq (MNF-I) and Iraqi Security Forces throughout the country.
There is credible information that terrorists are targeting civil aviation. Civilian and military aircraft arriving at and departing from Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) for other major cities in Iraq have been subjected to small arms and missiles. Civilian aircraft generally lack defense systems capable of defeating man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). As a result of a security incident at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), the U.S. Embassy has prohibited all U.S. government employees from departing BIAP on commercial airlines until further notice.
All vehicular travel in Iraq is extremely dangerous. There have been numerous attacks on civilian vehicles, as well as military convoys. Attacks occur throughout the day, but travel at night is exceptionally dangerous. Travel in or through Ramadi and Fallujah; in and between al-Hillah, al-Basrah, Kirkuk, Baqubah (Diyala Province), and Baghdad; between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport; and from Baghdad to Mosul is particularly dangerous.
Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to certain areas depending on prevailing security conditions. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs), and mines often are placed on roads, concealed in plastic bags, boxes, soda cans, dead animals, and in other ways to blend with the road. Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas. Overland travel should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary and with the appropriate security.
The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone. The Embassy can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq. The U.S. Government considers the potential threat to U.S. Government personnel assigned to Iraq sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. At present, travel to and from the International Zone is extremely limited. Unofficial travel to Iraq by U.S. Government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the Department of State. The U.S. Embassy does not provide visa services to the general public. American citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to pay close attention to their personal security, avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations, and to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq. All Americans in Baghdad are strongly encouraged to register with the Embassy at the following website.
American citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, via landline at: 1-240-553-0584, via Iraqna cellular phones at 07901-191-0058/57/56/54/53/52/49/48, via e-mail to email@example.com, or by accessing the U.S. Embassy’s website at https://iq.usembassy.gov/. The after-hours number in case of extreme emergency is 1-914-822-5493 or Iraqna 07901-732-134.
Updated information on travel and security in Iraq may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the United States and Canada, or for callers outside the United States, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Consular Information Sheet for Iraq, as well as the current Worldwide Caution and the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.
Squaremouth recommends travel insurance for all your overseas trips.