The Iraqi Defense Ministry on Saturday denied reports about planned evacuation of U.S. contractors from a military base in northern Iraq.
According to foreign media Friday, 400 U.S. contractors were preparing to leave Balad military base, which hosts U.S. forces some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, over growing tension between the U.S. and Iran.
“We deny reports about the evacuation of U.S. contractors, or any other individual from Balad base,” Yehia Rasul, a spokesman for Iraq’s joint operations command, said in a statement.
The U.S. military earlier denied reports about the evacuation of contractors from the military base.
“There are no plans at this time to evacuate any personnel from Balad [...] Should there be increased threats to our people, the U.S. Air Force will put measures in place to provide the protections required,” Col. Kevin Walker said in a statement.
Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since May 2018 when Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU.
By Amir al-Saadi in Baghdad