- Protesters have stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad, setting fire to a reception area.
- The demonstrations were sparked by US attacks on a militia in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, in which 25 were killed.
- President Donald Trump in a tweet accused Iran of being behind the attack on the embassy and said the US had launched the strikes in retaliation for an attack in which a US contractor was killed.
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Supporters of Shia militias in Iraq have stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad, setting fire to a guard tower and reception area, according to reports.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene described seeing flames rise from inside the compound and at least three US troops on its roof.
A man on a loudspeaker urged protesters not to try to enter the embassy, according to the report, telling them they had sent their message with the damage they had inflicted.
The protesters broke down a gate to the embassy and stopped about 200 meters from the main embassy building, where US troops on the roof could be seen pointing weapons at the protesters, according to the Associated Press.
A video from the Iranian state broadcaster Press TV showed an aerial view of the attack:
— Press TV (@PressTV) December 31, 2019
US President Donald Trump accused Iran of being behind the attack.
He said that Iran was “orchestrating” the assault and called on Iraq to use its military to help defend the compound. He said Iran “will be held fully responsible” but did not elaborate on what he might do as a result.
Earlier, huge crowds gathered outside the compound to protest US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday against the Iranian-backed militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, which has fought closely with the Iraqi military in the battle against the Islamic State terrorist group.
Twenty-five people were killed in the attacks, which the US said were made in retaliation for a rocket attack on a base in Iraq in which a US contractor was killed and which the US has blamed on the militia.
Before storming the compound, protesters chanted “down USA, down USA,” and wrote “resistance” in red letters on the walls of the embassy, according to reports.
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