Dozens of Iraqi protesters furious over airstrikes that targeted Hezbollah positions have forced their way into the US embassy compound in Baghdad. Tear gas and sounds of gunfire were reported at the scene.
The crowd was able to gain access to sections of the heavily-fortified Green Zone, smashing doors and security cameras on the wall surrounding the diplomatic building, according to the Associated Press.
The agency said that there was a fire in one part of the compound, and that at least three US soldiers were spotted on the roof of the embassy.
Plumes of dark smoke could be seen rising from the compound, as protesters waved Hezbollah flags and chanted “Down, down USA!”, “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
#Breaking: Just in – Reports that #Hezbollah supporters are burning the back wall outside the #US embassy in #Baghdad‘s green zone in #Iraq, and are willing to storm inside the building to destroy everything inside. pic.twitter.com/LbFpURqTjX
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) December 31, 2019
— Aleph 🕯️ א (@no_itsmyturn) December 31, 2019
The Supreme Court has already pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t require the “additional procedural requirements” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is apparently demanding from the Senate before it tries the impeachment of President Trump.
Security guards stationed inside the diplomatic mission threw stun grenades at protesters outside the compound gate, witnesses told Reuters.
One video purportedly shows US soldiers huddled behind the embassy’s reception desk, as protesters film them from the window.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) December 31, 2019
Another clip shows security personnel, wearing helmets and backpacks, gathered in the reception area as protesters shout at them through the window.
Kataib Hizbulla militia and PMF protesters and U.S embassy guards are separated by a glass barrier pic.twitter.com/JJyUR7ySee
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) December 31, 2019
The US envoy to Iraq, Matthew H. Tueller, was evacuated from the area.
Protesters dispersed after setting fire to a security checkpoint at the entrance of the embassy compound, Reuters reported.
The chaos comes after the US military attacked Kataib Hezbollah targets in Qaim, Iraq, and two in Syria. At least 25 fighters were killed in the strikes, the Iran-allied Shitte militia has claimed. The Pentagon blames the group for attacks on coalition forces stationed in Iraq.
The US strikes were strongly condemned by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Tehran described the attacks as a form of “terrorism,” and denied any involvement in targeting US troops in Iraq.