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“We have delivered our message, please leave the area to avoid bloodshed,” one announcement said as several US Marines were seen on the roof of the main building with their guns pointed at the protesters.
At one point, the Marines fired tear gas and flash rounds to disperse the crowd, according to Agence France-Presse.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry officials did not say when the American ambassador or other embassy workers had left but added that a few protection staff remained.
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.
President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the embassy breach and called on Iraq to protect the diplomatic mission.
Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
Shoot them dead, do not wait