The exact number of people being evacuated was not clear Sunday. The embassy would remain open, a person familiar with the planning said, and much of its staff of about 5,500 would stay in Baghdad. The American government is expected to call the move a relocation, suggesting that it is a temporary precaution, the person said.

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Many staff members who are leaving will be flown to Amman, Jordan, where they will continue their work at the embassy there. Others will be shifted from Baghdad to consulates here in Erbil, in the northern Kurdish region, and in Basra, in the south, which are not now under threat by the militants.

Other Americans in Iraq, particularly contractors working for companies that had been training the Iraqi military on weapons systems purchased from the United States, have already been evacuated from the country.