Hundreds of angry Iraqi Shiite militia supporters have on Tuesday broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad after smashing a main door and setting fire to a reception area, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire.
Earlier on Sunday, U.S. planes had attacked bases belonging to an Iranian-backed militia, the Kataib Hezbollah, killing 25 fighters and injured 55, 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.
According to the Associated Press, flames were seen rising from inside the compound and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the main building inside embassy. There was a fire at the reception area near the parking lot of the compound but it was unclear what had caused it.
The protesters hanged a poster on the wall: “America is an aggressor.”
Protesters threw stones at the gate outside the embassy, while others chanted, “No, no, America! … No, no, Trump!”
Hundreds of angry protesters also set up tents outside the embassy. As tempers rose, the mob set fire to three trailers used by security guards along the embassy wall.
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.
No one was immediately reported hurt in the rampage and security staff had withdrawn to inside the embassy earlier, soon after protesters gathered outside.
Hours after the violence erupted, armored vehicles with Iraqi soldiers arrived near the embassy, deploying near the embassy walls but not close to the breached area.
Current U.S. Government Is The Worst In America’s History – Iran President
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has on Tuesday said in a speech that the current United State government is the worst in the history of America.
In a live broadcast on state television, Rouhani also said Iran’s upcoming parliamentary elections in February will have an effect on regional and international politics.
On January 8, Iranian forces shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 hours after launching a barrage of ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq housing hundreds of U.S. forces, in retaliation for the U.S. killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a January 2 drone strike in Baghdad.
Three days after shooting the airliner and due to intense international pressure, Iran confessed to have unintentionally shot the jet down, its president asserted after the incident that the “root causes” of the tragedy were U.S. actions.
Ever since, tension between the two countries have increased as Iran’s state-controlled news agency Tasnim quoted Rouhani as saying “it was the U.S. that caused such an incident to take place.”
The Iranian regime has blamed the U.S. president Donald Trump administration for ratcheting up tensions with the controversial decision to kill Soleimani.
On January 10, U.S. imposed more sanctions on Iran in retaliation for its missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued “terrorist” acts or pursued a nuclear bomb.
Also, Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor Barack Obama and began reimposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.
Iranian crude sales have been driven down by those U.S. sanctions, the Islamic Republic’s main source of revenues, but so far the actions have not brought Iran back to the negotiating table to discuss a new nuclear pact as sought by Trump.
Rockets ‘Hit US Embassy’ In Iraq Capital Amid Anti-Gov’t Protests
Three persons have been injured after five rockets crashed into a riverbank near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad over the weekend
Security sources say three of the projectiles hit the diplomatic installation, with one striking the embassy’s cafeteria
The incident came amid anti-government protests in the capital, Baghdad, over corruption, foreign interference in Iraqi affairs, and the presence of U.S. troops in the country.
One protester was shot by Iraqi security forces,
Prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has condemned the rocket attack that targeted the U.S. embassy on the same day a U.S. State department spokesperson had called on “the government of Iraq, to fulfill its obligations to protect American diplomatic facilities.
It was the third such attack this month.
Pro-Iranian demonstrators had attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in December to condemn U.S. Air strikes two days earlier that killed at least 25 members of an Iran-backed militant group.
Aircraft Crashes In Central Afghan Province
Senior Afghan officials say a plane has crashed in eastern Ghazni province, but details are still sketchy as authorities sought to locate the aircraft’s wreckage in the mountainous province.
Three government officials said the plane was operated by Afghanistan’s state-owned carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines. Acting CEO of the airlines, Mirwais Mirzakwal, had denied those reports on Monday.
A senior presidency official in Kabul says a plane had crashed near Ghazni province and authorities were still seeking details.
Provincial sources said the plane was en route to Ghazni from Herat when it crashed in a territory under Taliban control
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they were investigating the crash claims but were unable to comment further.
Afghanistan civil aviation authority also denied reports that the plane was a commercial flight.
The mountainous Ghazni province sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is bitterly cold in the winter.
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