Hundreds of Iraqi protesters have attempted to assault the US embassy in Baghdad after US airstrikes that killed 25 fighters of a Shiite group in Iraq backed by Iran.
Screaming "Down, down, United States!" the crowd tried to enter the embassy grounds on Tuesday, throwing bottles of water and breaking security cameras outside.
The US military carried out the attacks on Sunday against Kataeb Hezbollah, backed by Iran, calling it retaliatory for the murder of a US contractor last week for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that blamed the group.
Protesters raised flags of the powerful paramilitary group of Hashd Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), of which Kataeb Hezbollah is part, and several people climbed over the embassy wall and chanted "death to America,quot; and "no, no America, "witnesses said.
The attempted assault on the embassy on Tuesday took place after the mourners held the funerals of the combatants killed in a neighborhood in Baghdad, after which they marched to the heavily fortified Green Zone and continued walking until they reached the embassy.
Security guards were seen retreating inside the embassy. Protesters were also seen hanging yellow flags belonging to the Kataeb Hezbollah on the embassy walls.
BREAKING – LIVE: Iraq protesters gather near the US embassy in Baghdad after the United States carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria against the armed group Kataib Hezbollah pro Iran. https://t.co/70rCmk0OA5
– Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) December 31, 2019
Speaking from the scene in Baghdad, Simona Foltyn of Al Jazeera said that until now there was no indication of an armed confrontation.
"All this funeral procession, composed mainly of PMF members and their supporters, has entered through these doors without any resistance from the Iraqi security forces that are supposed to protect the Green Zone," he said, speaking from outside the embassy from the United States.
"We have seen in the past when anti-government protesters were able to enter the Green Zone, but I don't think we have seen such a large number of people so close to the United States Embassy," he continued, calling this a "significant development." .
"It remains to be seen how the authorities will react and, more importantly, how the United States will react," Foltyn added.
Vows of Revenge
The attack by the United States, the largest aimed at a group sanctioned by the Iraqi state in recent years, and calls for reprisals, represent a new escalation in the war of power between the United States and Iran that takes place in the Middle East .
The US military said "precision defensive attacks,quot; were made against five sites of Kataeb Hezbollah, which is a force separated from the Lebanese group Hezbollah, in Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi militia backed by Iran promised to retaliate for US military attacks on Monday. The attack and the vows of revenge raised concerns about new attacks that could threaten US interests in the region.
Al Jazeera and news agencies