The Pentagon has sent 100 Marines to the US Embassy in Baghdad to bolster security in the wake of an attack on Tuesday where hundreds of pro-Iran militia members stormed the compound, set walls ablaze and chanted ‘Death to America!’ in retaliation for American air strikes.
American soldiers inside the embassy have fired tear gas, stun grenades and warning shots, wounding 62 of the hundreds of fighters who broke down the gate and set fires within the complex in the Iraqi capital, according to the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group for the militias recognized by the Iraqi government.
The ambassador was on leave at the time of the attack and embassy staff had already been evacuated before the US Marine guard became besieged behind the bullet-proof glass and on the rooftops.
Tuesday’s attack on the embassy was is in retaliation for US air strikes on the Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah on Sunday night, which killed two dozen fighters. Those strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor at a US base in Kirkuk.
On Tuesday US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US was sending additional forces to the Baghdad embassy, while calling on Iraq to help protect American personnel, hours after President Donald Trump slammed the attack and warned that Iran will be ‘held fully responsible’.
Video footage from the scene shows the US military sending in Marines in two Aviation UH-60M utility helicopters and two CH-47F Chinook helicopters, which were then used to evacuate the embassy. Another clip shows a US Apache helicopter dropped warning flares above the embassy.
‘We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defense,’ Esper said in a statement, according to AP.
‘As in all countries, we rely on host nation forces to assist in the protection of our personnel in country, and we call on the Government of Iraq to fulfill its international responsibilities to do so,’ he added.
Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail