A violent demonstration ended just hours after the president sternly warned protesters there would be serious consequences if they continued assaulting a U.S. foreign mission in the Middle East.
A group led by Iranian militia leader Hadi al-Amiri retreated after Donald Trump warned demonstrators would be prosecuted for any deaths and damage they caused at the U.S. Embassy in the Iraq capitol of Baghdad.
“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very big price,” the president said on Twitter. “This is not a warning, it is a threat. Happy New Year.”
As previously reported by The BL, the group attacked the embassy shortly after attending a funeral service for 25 fighters from Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah who died in recent U.S. airstrikes. Kataib Hezbollah is blamed for the death of an American nonmilitary contractor and is also one of many pro-Iran militias that form the Popular Mobilization Forces, which officially joined the Iraqi military after combating the Sunni Islamic State terrorist group.
Kataib Hezbollah supporters, who wore uniforms and waved militia flags, are believed to have led the group that grew into thousands with many of them carrying photos of deceased Kataib Hezbollah members and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who condemned the American airstrikes.
“The attackers were able to smash open a gate and push into the embassy compound, lighting fires, smashing cameras, and painting messages such as ‘closed in the name of resistance’ on the walls,” Breitbart reported. “Gunshots were reportedly heard near the embassy, while tear gas and stun grenades were deployed by its defenders.”
The Iraqi military confirmed all paramilitary groups and supporters who protested against the air strikes in Iraq have already withdrawn from the perimeter of the embassy according to the Daily Wire.
President Trump also confirmed the embassy is no longer in danger and thanked Iraqi authorities for helping to neutralize the situation.
“The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, and has been for hours, safe,” he said on Twitter. “Many of our great warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the president and prime minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request.”
Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman Col. Myles Caggins III confirmed “appropriate force protection actions” helped restore the safety of U.S. citizens at the embassy.
“We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the embassy,” he said on Twitter.