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Iraq Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Oct 21, 2004

This Travel Warning updates information on the use of civilian aircraft to arrive in or depart from Iraq, security conditions and to reiterate the dangers of road travel within Iraq. This supersedes the Travel Warning of September 17, 2004.

The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Baath regime, transnational terrorists, and criminal elements remain active. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone. Targets include hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, and 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 were recently kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Iraq. U.S. citizens and other foreigners continue to be targeted by insurgent groups for kidnapping and murder. Military operations continue. There are daily attacks against Multinational Forces - Iraq (MNF-I) throughout the country.

There is credible information that terrorists are targeting civil aviation. Civilian and military aircraft arriving in and departing from Baghdad International Airport have been subjected to small arms and missiles. Civilian aircraft do not generally possess systems, such as those found on military aircraft, capable of defeating man-portable, surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS). Anyone choosing to utilize civilian aircraft to enter or depart Iraq should be aware of this potential threat, as well as the extremely high risk to road transportation described below. Official U.S. Government (USG) personnel are strongly encouraged to use U.S. military or other USG aircraft when entering and departing Iraq due to concerns about security of civilian aircraft servicing Iraq. Currently, USG personnel are only authorized to travel commercially on Royal Jordanian Airlines.

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, travel between al-Hillah and Baghdad, and travel between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport is particularly dangerous. Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to select areas depending on prevailing security conditions. There continues to be heavy use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and/or mines on roads, particularly in plastic bags, soda cans, and dead animals. Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas. 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. At present travel to and from the International Zone is extremely limited. 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: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp.

American citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by calling the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, at: 1-240-553-0584 x4354, or by e-mail: usconsulbaghdad@state.gov or via the U.S. Embassy's website: http//iraq.usembassy.gov. Their after-hours number is 1-914-822-5473.

Updated information on travel and security in Iraq may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-317-472-2328. For further information, please consult the Consular Information Sheet for Iraq, 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.

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