Iraqi Shiite militia supporters stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad early Tuesday, smashing surveillance cameras, breaking down the main door, and setting the reception area and guard tower on fire, prompting an evacuation of American personnel at the highly secured site. An AP reporter on the scene described seeing massive flames shooting from inside the compound as a man with a megaphone urged the mob to retreat, saying “The message was delivered.” The angry mob used red spray paint on the wall to write, “Closed in the name of the resistance.” American security forces protecting the embassy returned fire with live ammunition and tear gas, according to the AP. No deaths have been reported. The violent scene follows a Sunday U.S. attack on Iraqi state-sanctioned Kataeb Hezbollah militia on the Syrian border, which killed more than two dozen fighters. Prior to the violent incident, Iraqi militia supporters set up tents outside the embassy compound and set fire to several trailers parked along the wall.
On Twitter, President Trump claimed Iran was behind the siege and demanded that the Iraqi government protect the embassy complex, writing “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!”