Protesters outside Baghdad embassy disperse, US citizens still warned to avoid area

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Protesters outside Baghdad embassy disperse, US citizens still warned to avoid area
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Protesters outside Baghdad embassy disperse, US citizens still warned to avoid area
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Protesters who attempted to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday and camped outside the compound overnight dispersed on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. Marines guarding the embassy fired tear gas after the protesters lit a fire on the roof of the reception area, the Associated Press reported. Smoke could be seen rising from the building.

Despite the protests ending, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a statement Wednesday that all public consulate operations have been suspended and advised U.S. citizens not to even approach the compound.

“Due to militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. All future appointments are canceled. U.S. citizens are advised to not approach the embassy,” according to the statement.

The protesters, made up of dozens of pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters, stayed the night outside the compound after a day of violence in which hundreds of marchers set a sentry box on fire, hurled water bottles at retreating security guards, and chanted, “Down, down USA.”

During Tuesday’s protests, marchers pushed their way past an outer wall right up to the embassy gates, but a State Department spokesperson said that the embassy itself was never breached.

In response, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday night that an infantry battalion of about 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division would be deployed to the Middle East “immediately.” The 82nd Airborne Division tweeted photos early Wednesday of more than 650 paratroopers as they began the deployment.

You can read the rest of Marc Nathanson and Conor Finnegan’s article at ABCnews.com

 

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