Concerns over invasion of The United States Embassy in Baghdad have seen the American government suspending all public consular operations in the Iraqi capital.
The decision comes a day after Iran-backed militias and their supporters stormed its outer perimeter, setting fires, throwing rocks and smashing surveillance cameras.
“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,” the US said in a statement.
Baghdad is the second-largest city in the Arab world. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the eighth (8th) century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened Iran, warning that the country’s leaders will be held responsible for any death or destruction after protestors attacked the US embassy in Baghdad.
“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” Trump tweeted from Florida. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.”
And later Tuesday, while speaking with reporters as he entered a New Year’s Eve gala at Mar-a-Lago, the President said he doesn’t want war but that if it comes to conflict, Iran wouldn’t last long.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran,” Trump said, adding later that a potential conflict “would go very quickly.”
Protesters attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, scaling the walls and forcing the gates of the compound, as hundreds demonstrated against American airstrikes on an Iran-backed militia group in Iraq.
As night fell, protestors set up tents near the embassy, suggesting another day of upheaval lies ahead.
Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were deployed around the perimeter of the embassy, while the Pentagon announced additional Marines would be sent to Baghdad and more troops would be deployed to the Middle East in response to the embassy crisis. – Agency reports