- Title: U.S. embassy in Baghdad evacuated as protesters denounce U.S. air strikes
- Date: 31st December 2019
- Summary: BAGHDAD, IRAQ (DECEMBER 31, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MILITIA FIGHTERS AND PROTESTERS CHANTING AND MARCHING TOWARDS THE U.S. EMBASSY COMPOUND VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING (Arabic): ''NO TO AMERICA / GET OUT OCCUPIER"
- Embargoed: 14th January 2020 10:06
- Keywords: Baghdad Iraq Kataib Hezbollah militia U.S. embassy anti U.S. protests protests
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- City: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001BCB25ON
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS NOTE: QUALITY AS INCOMING
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq and other staff were evacuated from their embassy in Baghdad for their safety on Tuesday (December 31), Iraqi officials said, as thousands of protesters and militia fighters outside the gate denounced U.S. air strikes in Iraq.
On Sunday (December 29), U.S. planes had 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 U.S. civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.
The two Iraqi foreign ministry officials did not say when the U.S. ambassador or other staff had left but added that a few embassy protection staff remained.
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.
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. Kataib Hezbollah flags were hung on the fence surrounding the building.
Abdul Mahdi condemned the strikes, which killed at least 25 fighters and wounded 55.
(Production: Thaier al-Sudani, Mohammed Katfan, Tanya Lezaic)
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