SYDNEY, June 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Australia has withdrawn several officials from Iraq, the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs reported.
“Due to the very challenging security environment we are unlikely to be able to provide the level of consular assistance that might be expected,” the department said. “The Australian embassy remains open, with reduced staffing levels,” Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC radio.
On June 15, Bishop urged the Australians who are currently in Iraq to leave the country as soon as possible. She said that the airport in Baghdad remains open, and commercial flights are still available.
Fighting between the Iraqi military and terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) organization continues in the country. On June 10, militants seized the Nineveh province with its capital Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. On June 11, extremists gained control over the city of Tikrit, the home town of the former president Saddam Hussein.