Global defense and security company Lockheed Martin announced plans Thursday to evacuate all employees from the Balad area in northern Iraq due to concerns for their safety with escalating violence in the region, officials confirmed.
"We are fully aware of the unfolding situation in Iraq and are working closely with the U.S. government to ensure the safety and protection of all of our employees," Lockheed Martin spokesman Mark Johnson said in an email. "All Lockheed Martin employees are safe and secure at this time."
The exact number of employees was not specified.
The employees were at Balad to support the Iraq F-16 program, Johnson said.
The security situation worsened in the country this week after emboldened Sunni militants seized two more cities, including Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, as they moved closer to Baghdad.
On Thursday, President Obama said the U.S. will "not rule anything out" with regard to the situation.