WORLD Canada warns nationals against risks of traveling to Middle East

WORLD

Canada warns nationals against risks of traveling to Middle East

Xinhua

14:21, January 05, 2020

OTTAWA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Canada updated a travel advisory on Saturday for its citizens travelling to the Middle East due to intensified U.S.-Iran conflicts after Iran's top general was killed by a U.S. airstrike.

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Photo: CGTN

The Canadian government's travel advisory service tweeted that it has "updated security advice for multiple destinations in the region due to an increased threat of attacks."

Tensions have escalated in the Gulf as a U.S. drone attack ordered by President Donald Trump on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

Canadian authorities said there is an extreme risk to personal safety in the Middle East countries and people already there should consider leaving.

Canada said citizens traveling to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait should exercise "a high degree of caution."

Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said early Saturday that Canada temporarily suspended a Canada-commanding NATO training mission in Iraq.

"We are taking all necessary precautions for the safety and security of our civilian and military personnel," Sajjan said in a statement.

The NATO mission run by Canadian General Jennie Carignan is reportedly a "non-combat, advisory and training" mission.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Friday called on all sides to exercise restraint and pursue de-escalation after the U.S. airstrike.

"The safety and well-being of Canadians in Iraq and the region, including our troops and diplomats, is our paramount concern. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and pursue de-escalation," Champagne said in a statement on Friday.

The United States has urged its citizens in Iraq to leave "immediately."

Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" against the United States for what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called a "heinous crime" after Soleimani was killed.

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