Media reports indicate that Iraqi protesters, identified as Iraqi Shiite militia members and their supporters, stormed the U.S. Embassy Baghdad on December 31, in protest of the deadly air strikes conducted by U.S. forces over the weekend. Reports note that the Sunday strikes killed at least 25 fighters and wounded 55.
On December 30, SecDef Mark Esper announced that “the Department of Defense took offensive actions in defense of our personnel and interests in Iraq by launching F-15 Strike Eagles against five targets associated with Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is an Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group. The targets we attacked included three targets in Western Iraq and two targets in Eastern Syria that were either command and control facilities or weapons caches for Kata’ib Hezbollah.”
On December 27, a rocket attack at an Iraqi base killed one U.S. contractor and wounded four U.S. troops. See https://on.wsj.com/2MBzEn5.
According to the AP, the State Department has stated that all U.S. personnel at Embassy Baghdad are safe and that there are no plants to evacuate.
This morning, U.S. Embassy Baghdad issued a security alert advising “U.S. citizens not to approach the Embassy. U.S. citizens should keep in touch with family members. In an emergency, U.S. citizens in Iraq or those concerned about family in Iraq should contact the Department of State at +1-202-501-4444 or toll-free in the U.S. at 1-888-407-4747.”
This was the scene as protesters attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the largest American embassy in the world. Anger over U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend prompted the demonstrations.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 31, 2019
WATCH: Thousands of Iraqi protesters furious over deadly U.S. airstrikes storm the American Embassy in Baghdad, breaking down doors and setting fires https://t.co/zS7HQXjDyF pic.twitter.com/MO3UnaG06q
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 31, 2019
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was stormed by thousands of protesters enraged by U.S. air strikes on Iraq. Embassy guards fired tear gas and stun grenades on protesters who set fires and hurled stones. American troops and some staff were still inside https://t.co/LdCvszL0Jg pic.twitter.com/VfiU68RPWc
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 31, 2019
All U.S. personnel at the embassy in Baghdad are safe and there are no plans to evacuate, the State Department says. No injuries were reported when dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the embassy compound. https://t.co/3QJtLuQ5Ek
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 31, 2019
Kataib Hezbollah protesters breaching the gates of the US embassy in Baghdad. They say they will stay till US troops leave. It’s the biggest US embassy in the world & supposedly secure but hard to see how diplomats can remain now pic.twitter.com/17VkjQA71W
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) December 31, 2019
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) December 31, 2019
The Marines reinforcing the U.S. embassy in Baghdad are with the special-purpose crisis response task force that commanders in the Middle East have available to them, U.S. military officials says. They work out of Kuwait.
Marines just released photos:https://t.co/CxgtIpYpem
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) December 31, 2019
After failure of #Iraq Security that it helped train/equip post-Saddam to protect its own Embassy, US taking matters into its own hands.
US commander tweets video of Apache helicopter + flares in sky of Baghdad tonight following embassy attack pic.twitter.com/o0QmaXm4dN
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) December 31, 2019
“Iraqi security forces made no effort to stop the [crowd] as they marched to the heavily-fortified Green Zone after a funeral held for those killed in the U.S. airstrikes, letting them pass through a security checkpoint leading to the area.” https://t.co/EOkgGP9E5U https://t.co/doH6ZUkVIK
— Chad Garland (@chadgarland) December 31, 2019
We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.
— Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) December 31, 2019
.@SecPompeo spoke with Prime Minister Mahdi and Presient Salih and reinforced their responsibility to protect our diplomatic facilities. We will respond if our people are harmed, and we continue to support an independent Iraq. pic.twitter.com/LF9PhlGOlz
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) December 31, 2019