President Trump on Tuesday blamed Iran for “orchestrating” an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and vowed to hold the country “fully responsible.”
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many,” Trump tweeted. “We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
Dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, smashing a main door and setting fire to a reception area, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire, angered over deadly U.S. airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed militia.
Iraqi security forces made no effort to stop the protesters as they marched to the heavily-fortified Green Zone after a funeral held for those killed in the U.S. airstrikes, letting them pass through a security checkpoint leading to the area.
Dozens of protesters pushed into the embassy compound after smashing the gate used by cars to enter the embassy. The protesters, many in militia uniform, stopped in a corridor after about 5 meters (16 feet), and were only about 200 meters away from the main building. Half a dozen U.S. soldiers were seen on the roof of the main building, their guns were pointed at the protesters.
The airstrikes on Sunday – which killed 25 fighters of the Kataeb Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq – were conducted in retaliation of a rocket attack last week on an Iraqi military base that killed an American contractor and injured U.S. troops. Iran said there would be “consequences” for the U.S. strikes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report