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Turkey evacuates staff from consulate in Basra, Iraq

ANKARA, Turkey – The Turkish foreign minister says Turkey has evacuated staff from its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra over a deteriorating security situation.

Ahmet Davutoglu said on his Twitter account Tuesday that consular staff had crossed the Iraqi border into Kuwait. He did not provide further details.

The evacuation comes a week after militants from the al-Qaida inspired group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, seized 49 people from the Turkish consulate in Mosul. Thirty-one truck Turkish truck drivers were also seized by the group there.

The militant group has seized several key cities in the Sunni heartland in northern Iraq. It has vowed to march to Baghdad and to Shiite holy cities in the worst threat to Iraq’s stability since U.S. troops left.

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