US troops fire tear gas as protesters throw stones at embassy in Baghdad – 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.
Looks like American occupying forces throw tear gas and set up snipers to disperse Iraqi protesters.@realDonaldTrump is not preventing another #Benghazi because protestors were civil and did not want to kill Americans just to destroy the embassy building. Donald is just dreaming https://t.co/xxsdowxuya— Batman Iraq (@BatmanIraq) January 1, 2020
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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