Balad [Iraq]: The United States will be evacuating nearly 400 Lockheed Martin and Sallyport Global employees from the Balad Air Base here in a two-stage process due to “potential security threats.”
Quoting Iraqi military sources, Russia’s state broadcaster RT reported that the step is being taken in the wake of continuing US-Iran tensions.
The already strained relationship was further aggravated after Iran shot down a US military drone on Thursday. While Iran says that the “intruding American spy drone” was shot down as it was in Iranian airspace, Washington has labelled the incident as an “unprovoked attack” as the drone was flying over international waters.
The latest evacuation comes after the US recalled hundreds of non-emergency diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad last month.
The US contractors in Balad assist the Iraqi military in maintaining its F-16 fleet along with providing security, training, and other basic operations.
Quoting the sources further, RT also reported that militants had fired three rockets at the airbase on Saturday amid rising tensions between US and Iran, No casualties were reported in the attack.