India and Pakistan on Wednesday cautioned their citizens about travel to Iraq, hours after Iran launched missile attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq.
Iran’s attack came in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike on an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a war in the Middle East.
“In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq,” it said, adding that the Indian embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil remained operational.
Later on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Pakistan’s foreign office tweeted that Pakistanis should “exercise maximum caution while planning visit to Iraq at this point”.
Pakistan has a large Shi’ite population, which reveres a number of sites in Iraq, particularly in the central city of Karbala, where tens of thousands travel throughout the year on pilgrimages. (Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in New Delhi and Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam in Islamabad; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Alexandra Ulmer and David Clarke)