India on Wednesday advised its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq in the wake of an attack by Iran on two airbases housing American troops in the country, PTI reported. The Ministry of External Affairs also advised Indians in Iraq to stay alert and avoid travel within the country.
The ministry said India’s embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil would continue to function normally.
Earlier in the day, Iran used over a dozen ballistic missiles to attack the airbases in Irbil and Al-Asad in retaliation to the assassination of top military general Qassem Soleimani by the US on January 3. Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, was killed with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, in an airstrike at the Baghdad airport.
Soon after Iran’s attack, US President Donald Trump said, “all is well”, and that he would make a statement later. He tweeted that assessment of casualties and damages was underway. Earlier, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham had said that the president “is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team”.