Middle East

Iraq: Iranian-backed militia urged to leave US Embassy

Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi group urges its members to withdraw from around US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq

Haydar Karaalp   | 01.01.2020
Iraq: Iranian-backed militia urged to leave US Embassy

BAGHDAD 

After a dramatic day that saw the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad breached, an Iranian-backed militia on Wednesday group urged its members in Iraq to withdraw from around the embassy.

In a statement, the Hashd al-Shaabi group, or Popular Mobilization Forces, said: “We call on the crowd in front of the U.S. Embassy to respect the call of the Iraqi government and to withdraw from the area for the protection of state institutions.”

It stressed that the “message was delivered” with the protests and thanked Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and political and religious leaders for standing against U.S. airstrikes on the militia.

On Tuesday, thousands of Iraqi protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound, protesting Sunday’s airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah militia group which killed at least 25 fighters.

That airstrikes were in response to a rocket attack Friday on a U.S. military base in Kirkuk, blamed on Kataib Hezbollah, which is part of the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi group.

Friday's attack killed one U.S. contractor and wounded four U.S. service members.

Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday condemned the airstrikes on Iraqi military elements but also warned those taking part in funeral marches to stay away from foreign buildings and compounds.

"Iraqi security forces will respond to any act of aggression or harassment against foreign embassies in Iraq, and those responsible will face the full force of the law," Abdul-Mahdi said on Twitter.

President Donald Trump yesterday said that Iran will pay a heavy price for any attack on the embassy in Baghdad.

*Writing by Davut Demircan

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