The latest report on several hundred American military contractors, trapped and sometimes under fire since Wednesday at the Balad air base north of Baghdad, is that at least some of them have been evacuated to safety by Iraqi forces. That’s the good news.
Multiple sources indicate that several hundred contractors and U.S. government personnel were at the Balad base preparing for a delivery of F-16s to Iraq. (The Fox story alludes to quotes from Jen Psaki of the State Department that there could be “thousands” of Americans in-country, although clearly they were not all at Balad.)
“Three planeloads” of these passengers were flown out of Balad on Thursday, but reportedly, some 400-500 were still at Balad on Thursday night.
At CNN’s iReport website, a contractor’s urgent message from inside the Balad base was posted early on Friday:
I am writing from ballad Iraq as a employee of sallyport, ksillc..there are approx 500 US citizens on balad air base north of Baghdad trapped..we are part of a little known F16 iraq support mission here…The company has reportedly for the last 3 days to fly us out, we are now all herded into a central location on base..and being told nothing..The clint lockheed martin, DoS and most women have already been evacuated days ago but we are all still here. I hope this message is received by someone that can break this as headline news to bring attention to the situation for us..we are all worried and in dire straight as last security Intel reports Isis elements around us..
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