(December 31, 2019 / JNS) Dozens of Iraqi Shi’ite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, setting fire to a reception area.
An Associated Press reporter saw the flames from inside the compound, and said the storming of the compound was met with tear gas and sounds of shooting. A warning was delivered via a loudspeaker for the mob not to enter the compound, according to the report.
The U.S. ambassador and his staff were evacuated, according to Reuters. There were no reports of casualties.
The attack on the embassy came after the United States launched airstrikes on Sunday against the Iran-backed Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq.
U.S. President Donald Trump accused Iran of “orchestrating” the embassy attack and called on Iraq to protect the embassy compound.
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
The Iraqi government’s angry reaction to the American strikes on Sunday and the failure of its security forces to stop the mob from reaching the U.S. compound marked a low point in Iraq-U.S. relations, according to the AP.
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