At least 15 New Zealanders are believed to be in Iraq currently, amid tumultuous relations between Iran and the United States.

Those with concerns for their safety were "strongly advised" by New Zealand authorities to leave Iraq immediately.

There are also 45 New Zealand Defence Force personnel currently on rotation at Camp Taji, near Baghdad.

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In a statement to the Herald, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said no one should travel to Iraq due to its "volatile and unpredictable" security situation.

"We continue to advise that New Zealanders do not travel to Iraq due to due to the volatile and unpredictable security situation, the ongoing threat of terrorism, violent extremism and organised crime," a spokesperson said.

"New Zealanders currently in Iraq with concerns for their safety are strongly advised to depart."

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said the situation was being monitored closely.

He joined calls for restraint and de-escalation amid heightened tensions in Iraq, adding the Global Coalition worked hard for its achievements against ISIS.

"It is important that these gains are preserved and consolidated, not undermined," Peters said.

"We view very seriously any threats to deployed Coalition members, including New Zealand diplomatic staff and military personnel. Recent attacks on coalition bases and embassies constitute unacceptable risks to their safety.

"We continue to keep the security situation under close review, including implications for New Zealand personnel."


Yesterday, six people from a medical convoy in the Iraqi militia the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were killed in an airstrike, Reuters reported.

None of the group's top leaders were killed, Associated Press reported, and a US official said the attack was not an American military attack.

It follows the death of Iranian official Qassem Soleimani who died in an airstrike which hit Baghdad's airport on Friday.

Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's foreign arm and the Quds Force. Militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed.

Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike. Photo / AP
Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike. Photo / AP

The tenth and last contingent of NZDF personnel taking part in the Building Partner Capacity Mission in Iraq arrived at Camp Taji in late November.

Since May 2015, more than 900 members had been deployed there, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said.


"The numbers of personnel have been reduced from 75 in the previous rotation to 45 in the current rotation," Gilmour said.

"We are reducing the number of personnel deployed to Camp Taji in line with the conclusion of the mission.

Former Prime Minister John Key visiting Kiwi troops at Camp Taji in 2015. Photo / Mike Scott
Former Prime Minister John Key visiting Kiwi troops at Camp Taji in 2015. Photo / Mike Scott

"Planning is under way with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to ensure a smooth transition out of the mission by June, 30, 2020."

In June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed rocket attacks had been taking place in the vicinity of Camp Taji.

"I'm told that none have come over and into the perimeter of the camp and therefore there have been no New Zealand casualties."

Ardern said she has also been advised, from time to time, there were rocket strikes in the vicinity of Camp Taji.