Selasa, 31 Desember 2019

Baghdad protests: Demonstrators try to storm US embassy following strikes - CNN

Two sources at the demonstration witnessed the attempt to break into the embassy, adding that security personnel fired tear gas to repel the attack. Video and photos on social media show demonstrators smashing the windows of the embassy and burning items outside its walls.
Iraqi protesters set a sentry box ablaze in front of the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday.
The pro-Iranian demonstrators were mostly from Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a coalition of predominantly Shiite militias. Three leaders of powerful militia groups were also seen at the protest, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who heads the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah, which was targeted by the American strikes on Sunday.
The US carried out five airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on facilities controlled by Kataib Hezbollah. At least 25 people were killed and 51 wounded in the strikes, the first significant US military response to Kataib Hezbollah's deadly rocket attacks on US-Iraqi targets in recent weeks.
Pro-Iranian Iraqi protesters demonstrate outside the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday.
US officials said the strikes were carried out with F-15 Strike Eagle fighter planes and targeted weapons storage facilities and command and control locations used by Kataib Hezbollah, among others. The Pentagon said the locations had been used "to plan and execute attacks" on joint US-Iraq forces.
The airstrikes and protests have created new tensions between allies Washington and Baghdad, with Iraqi police and soldiers among the killed and wounded. They come at a time of unrest as mass protests across Iraq challenge the nation's precarious government.
A proxy war between the US and Iran just moved a step closer
Baghdad warned Monday that its relations with the US were at risk following the strikes.
Questions have also been raised as to whether Iraqi forces allowed the protesters to reach the US embassy, a highly fortified building in a ares that is usually restricted.
The strikes and protests also come at a time of high tensions between the US and Iran, and have stoked fears of a new proxy war in the Middle East.
Washington has tightened the economic squeeze on Tehran this year through its "maximum pressure" campaign, while Iran has responded with what it calls for "maximum resistance," including reducing its compliance to the international nuclear deal.
The Trump administration pulled the US out of that deal in May 2018, sparking a campaign of provocation between the two nations.

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2019-12-31 11:59:00Z

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