President Donald Trump has vowed to hold Iran “fully responsible” for Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Thousands of rioters along with Iran-backed militia fighters stormed the U.S. embassy in Iraq on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reported.

The rioters climbed over the embassy wall, shouting “No, no, America!,” “No, no, Trump!”, and “Death to America!”, the Associated Press reported. Many were seen carrying the flags of Iran-backed militia Kata’ib Hizbollah, a designated terrorist group.

The U.S. ambassador and the diplomatic staff were safely evacuated from the compound in wake of the attack, Iraqi officials confirm.

President Trump blamed Tehran for the embassy attack orchestrated by the Iran-backed terror militia. “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible,” he tweeted, referring also to last week’s rocket attack on a military based in northern Iran in which one U.S. civilian and several army personnel were injured. The U.S. responded by striking the bases of Kata’ib Hizbollah terror group, which carried out the attack.

The Associated Press reported the storming of the US. embassy of pro-Iranian militia:

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, angered over deadly U.S. airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed militia. U.S. guards fired tear gas and palls of smoke rose over the grounds.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw flames rising from inside the compound and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the main embassy building. There was a fire at the reception area near the compound’s parking lot but it was unclear what had caused it. A man on a loudspeaker urged the mob not to enter the compound, saying: “The message was delivered.” (…)

There were no reports of casualties, but the unprecedented breach was one of the worst attacks on the embassy in recent memory. It followed deadly U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah. The U.S. military said the airstrikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that it had blamed on the militia.

The developments represent a major downturn in Iraq-U.S. relations that could further undermine U.S. influence in the region and also weaken Washington’s hand in its maximum pressure campaign against Iran.

On Monday, Iran-sponsored Kata’ib Hizbollah had vowed revenge for the U.S. airstrike that took out two dozen of its operatives and destroyed several of its weapon depots. “The blood of the martyrs will not be in vain and our response will be very tough on the American forces in Iraq,” the founder and former chief of Kata’ib Hizbollah declared. The Iranian regime too warned the U.S. of ‘consequences’ following the anti-terror strike. Those threats have now been materialized.

The Kata’ib Hizbollah militia is regarded as the Iraqi-wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iranian regime’s military arm. “KH has a strong linkage with Iran’s Quds Force and has repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran that it has used to attack OIR coalition forces,” a spokesperson for the Pentagon said in statement on Sunday, referring to the Quds Force, IRCG’s international operations unit.

Iran funds and steers Kata’ib Hizbollah and other Shi’a Islamist militia in the region to exercise control over the ‘Shiite Crescent,’ a territory that stretches from Iran to Lebanon. Tehran repeatedly uses these proxy terror groups to hit U.S. and allied forces in the region.

[Cover image via YouTube]


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