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1 Jan, 2020 09:07

US troops fire tear gas as protesters throw stones at embassy in Baghdad – reports

US troops fire tear gas as protesters throw stones at embassy in Baghdad – reports

Tear gas has been used to disperse angry crowds outside the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, a day after thousands of protesters attempted to storm the diplomatic compound, according to reports.

Dozens of protesters who'd camped overnight outside the gates of the embassy were attacked with tear gas by security personnel, reportedly after the demonstrators drew closer to the building.

Purported footage of Wednesday’s clashes shows protesters shouting and throwing objects toward the compound walls, as thick smoke fills the air. Several bright flashes – likely from tear gas canisters being fired – can also be seen.

The crowd also reportedly set multiple US flags on fire. Several protesters were wounded and were brought away in ambulances, according to AFP. The skirmish comes a day after thousands of Iraqis marched on the compound to protest against US airstrikes that had targeted several Hezbollah positions.

The demonstrators were able to pass through several checkpoints in the high-security Green Zone, setting fires and destroying surveillance cameras.

In response to the attack, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said around 750 troops were ready to deploy to the region over the next several days.

Also on rt.com This is not a warning, it's a threat: Trump declares US embassy in Iraq safe, says Iran will pay ‘big price’ for attack

President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for the turmoil, and warned that Tehran would pay dearly if any US personnel were injured or killed by the demonstrators. Iran pushed back at the accusation, noting that Washington had the “audacity” to blame the Islamic Republic for protests in Iraq.

US airstrikes hit five Kataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq and Syria last week, in retaliation for an attack on a US coalition base near Kirkuk. Washington blamed that attack on the Iran-allied militia, but Tehran has denied any involvement, calling the subsequent  US strikes an act of "terrorism."

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