MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called on Filipinos in Iraq to go back to the Philippines as the security situation in the country continues to worsen.

The DFA raised on Friday Iraq's crisis level alert from 2 to 3.

Under level 3, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are encouraged to "voluntarily return to the Philippines at government expense."

The department, however, said OFWs residing in Kurdistan are exempted as the situation in the area remains "relatively calm and stable."

Attacks have spiked as Islamic State and other insurgents have strengthened their control over parts of Iraq's western Anbar province and exploited widespread Sunni anger over alleged mistreatment by the government.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is composed of Sunni insurgents who stage frequent high-profile bombings aimed at derailing the Shiite-dominated government and its Kurdish allies.

In a statement posted on its website, the DFA said a team was already sent to assist in the repatriation in Iraq. (Sunnex)