The South Korean government on Friday recommended construction companies operating in Iraq to evacuate from areas captured by Arab militants for their safety.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport sent out messages through the International Contractors Association of Korea for the companies and their staff to leave Iraq's Nineveh province.
Sunni Arab militants captured Mosul, the capital city of Nineveh, earlier this week. They are also said to have captured Tikrit, the provincial capital of Salaheddin.
The ministry said there were no ongoing projects by South Korean companies in the two capital cities that came under militant attacks, but 46 workers from 12 South Korean construction firms were in Nineveh and Salaheddin provinces.
Altogether, some 1,200 South Korean workers from 20 construction firms are currently staying in Iraq.
"Not all construction companies have projects in the troubled areas. The government has only instructed those in areas close to Mosul and Tikrit to move to safer places for now," a ministry official said.
The official said the ministry has gone on 24-hour emergency duty.
"We are closely monitoring conditions in Iraq to help ensure the safety of our people there. The government will immediately issue an order to evacuate if the conditions worsen," he said. (Yonhap)