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State Department orders non-essential staff to leave Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran

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The U.S. military put its forces in Iraq on high alert and the State Department ordered all non-emergency employees Wednesday to leave the country immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. It comes as some U.S. allies have expressed skepticism about the Trump administration’s claims that Iran poses a growing threat. 

Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Central Command, said in a statement that there were "possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces in Iraq" as he sought to clarify contradictory remarks by a British commander on Tuesday. 

British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior officer in the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, said that "there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria." Ghika's remarks were later rebutted by Urban in a rare sign of how the U.S. and its close allies have split over Iran's potential threat. :snip:

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