December 31, 2019
The US has evacuated its ambassador to Iraq after scores of protesters and militia fighters stormed the embassy in Baghdad amid tear gas and gunfire, to condemn American air strikes in the country.
US Ambassador In Iraq Evacuated As Protestors Storm Embassy In Baghdad
An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw flames rising from inside the compound and at least three US soldiers on the roof of the building.
Outside the embassy, protesters threw stones at the gate while others chanted: “No, no, America! No, no, Trump!”
Iraqi special forces were deployed around the main gate to prevent them entering the embassy.
A man on a loudspeaker urged protesters not to enter the compound, saying: “The message was delivered.”.عاجلمتظاهرو الكتائب يحرقون الجدار الخارجي للسفارة الامريكية ب #بغداد----------------BREAKING Kata'ib Hezbollah's protesters burn the outside wall of the U.S embassy in #Baghdadpic.twitter.com/8eqhN8M9rs— IraqiRevolution (@IRaqiRev) December 31, 2019Two Iraqi foreign ministry officials told Reuters that the US ambassador, Douglas A Silliman, had been evacuated along with a number of staff, but added that a few embassy protection personnel remained.
On Sunday, US planes attacked bases belonging to an Iranian-backed militia, a move that risks drawing Iraq further into a proxy conflict between Washington and Tehran at a time when mass protests are challenging Iraq’s political system.
The attack on the Kataib Hezbollah militia was in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.Iraqis have been taking to the streets in their thousands almost daily to condemn, among other things, militias such as Kataib Hezbollah and their Iranian patrons that support Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government.
Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, and many other senior militia leaders were among the protesters.
“Americans are unwanted in Iraq. They are a source of evil and we want them to leave,” Khazali told Reuters. Khazali is one of the most feared and respected Shi’ite militia leaders in Iraq, and one of Iran’s most important allies.Kataib Hezbollah is one of the smallest but most potent Iranian-backed militias. Its flags were hung on the fence surrounding the embassy.
Militia commander Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, also known as Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, and Badr Organisation leader Hadi al-Amiri were also at the protest.
Abdul Mahdi has condemned the air strikes, which killed at least 25 fighters and wounded 55.Related... Who Was Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And What Does His Death Mean For ISIS? Donald Trump's Speech About Kurds And World War 2 Is A New Level Of Baffling
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