Iraqi protesters breach U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad amid anger over airstrikes

Peter Weber

Anger over U.S. airstrikes Sunday against Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah boiled over in Baghdad on Tuesday as militia supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy complex and set fire to a reception area, The Associated Press reports. Iraqi officials say the U.S. ambassador and other staff evacuated the embassy as militia supporters started gathering outside, but the security forces who remained fired tear gas at the dozens of protesters who breached a side gate. AP reporters at the scene also heard sounds of gunfire and saw U.S. troops on the embassy roof with guns pointed at the attackers.

Leaders of several Iran-backed militias were in the crowd at the embassy shouting "Down, Down U.S.A." and "Death to America." Sunday's airstrikes killed 25 Kataib Hezbollah militants, a response, U.S. officials said, to an attack Friday that left one U.S. contractor dead. The attack on the U.S. Embassy followed funerals for the militants in a Baghdad neighborhood. Before breaking down the side gate, protesters smashed security cameras, torched three empty trailers used by security guards, and spray-painted "Closed in the name of the people" on the embassy gates.

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