Protesters gather to condemn airstrikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019.
Protesters gather to condemn airstrikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019.

Iraqi PM calls for end to US embassy siege after strikes on shiite militia

ANI | Updated: Jan 01, 2020 01:21 IST

Moscow [Russia], Jan 1 (ANI): Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi urged protesters on Tuesday to end the violent siege of the American embassy in Baghdad, which was triggered by a deadly US strike on a Shiite militia.
Dozens of protesters broke into the US embassy compound in Baghdad, smashing the main door and setting fire to a reception area, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire.
"The prime minister called on everyone to leave the place immediately and stressed that aggression... against embassies... was an act that security forces would not tolerate," the Foreign Ministry tweeted.
The US ambassador to Iraq and other staff were evacuated from the embassy.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the embassy shortly after funerals were held for fighters of Kataib Hezbollah militia killed in Sunday night strikes that the Pentagon launched in response on a rocket attack on a Kirkuk base.
As tempers flared, Iraqi protesters set fire to the mission's outer fence and tried to storm it. The State Department denied reports that the embassy had been breached, adding all personnel were secure, Sputnik reported.
There are no plans at the moment to evacuate the embassy, a State Department spokesperson said. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said it was watching the situation closely.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said extra troops had been dispatched to Baghdad to guard the embassy. He stressed that the US expected the host country to fulfil its duty to protect US diplomats. (ANI)

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