Protesters stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad and torched parts of it on New Year's Eve

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty ImagesSeveral thousand protesters attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, breaching its outer wall and chanting ‘Death to America!’ in anger over weekend airstrikes that killed pro-Iran fighters.
  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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.

Baghdad embassy attackAHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty ImagesAn Iraqi protester with a sign he took from outside the US Embassy in Baghdad after breaching the outer wall of the diplomatic mission during an angry demonstration on Tuesday to denounce weekend US airstrikes that killed Iran-backed fighters in Iraq.

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:

US President Donald Trump accused Iran of being behind the attack.^tfw

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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