President Donald Trump blames Iran for attack on US embassy in Baghdad

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US President Donald Trump on Tuesday blamed Iran for being behind attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad, and defended US airstrikes that killed 25 fighters of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq on Sunday.

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” said Trump in a post on Twitter.

“Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US 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!”

US President Donald Trump also tweeted on Tuesday a message to “millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran” telling them that this is their time.

The White House issued a statement saying that President Trump spoke on Tuesday with the Iraqi prime minister and emphasized the need to protect US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

Hundreds of angry supporters of Iraqi Shia militias stormed the US embassy on Tuesday, torching the security kiosk at the entrance of the compound, according to Reuters.

Shouting “Down, Down USA!” the crowd smashed security cameras on the wall around the embassy, hurled stones and set up protest tents there.

Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, and many other senior militia leaders were among the protesters.

“Americans are unwanted in Iraq. They are a source of evil and we want them to leave,” Khazali told Reuters. Khazali is one of the top Shia militia leaders in Iraq and one of Iran’s most important allies.

The American ambassador to Iraq and other staff left Baghdad via the international airport out of security concerns on Tuesday to an unknown destination, according to Al Arabiya sources. One official said a few embassy protection staff remained, according to The Associated Press.

Washington on Monday accused Iraqi authorities of having failed to “protect” US interests, the AFP reported.

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