Oil workers leave Iraq after Trump-ordered attack on Iran general

American oil workers are leaving Iraq after the US airstrike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, a troubling sign as oil prices have spiked following the raised tension in the region.

The workers began leaving just hours after Soleimani, a leader of the elite Iranian Quds Force, was killed by a targeted attack at an airport in Baghdad that US officials say was necessary to stop an “imminent threat” to American lives.

The US Embassy there has also issued a warning to civilians to leave Iraq as soon as possible, and thousands of American troops have been deployed to the region in anticipation of a likely response from Iran.

Iraqi officials have said the evacuation of workers would not impact its oil operations, production, or exports from the country, which is the second largest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to Reuters.

Dozens of workers were expected to fly out of the country, and a line at the Basra airport was described as relaxed. Some were reportedly flying to Dubai and others appeared ready to fly to Qatar.

The targeted strike against Soleimani saw crude oil prices surge in the hours after it was confirmed, up $2.50 a barrel to $68.69, marking the biggest jump since Saudi Arabian oil fields were attacked in September.

Meanwhile, oil company stocks also climbed, with Shell and BP rising by 1 per cent or more in Europe.

But the attack also saw a drop on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial average falling by more than 340 points on Friday morning.

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