By | Rachel Brooks
Contributor | Telegraph Local
See the New African Living Standard
The scene in Baghdad is escalating as the US sends approximately 100 more Marines to the site, citing Business Insiders. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that “the US sending additional forces to support our personnel” US Central Command told the Business Insider that the number of personnel on the site would be around 100.
Several mainstream news crews have been live streaming from the site for the past several hours. The live streams have been paused for the past hour as news teams are processing the situation on the ground. From the footage collected over the span of agencies, we can form a more complete picture of the scene.
The protestors are from the Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite Kataeb Hezbollah militia and from the funeral procession of the airstrike attacks on December 29, 2019. Time’s footage shows the procession close in on the Green Zone, the highly guarded area outside the US Embassy, and began to rip down signage. As signs were torn straight from the concrete, protestors beat and kick the signage into the ground. Then, shouts echo as smoke begins to rise from the scene. This was in the daylight hours of December 31, 2019. Citing time, an Associated Press reporter saw flames rising from inside the compound. A man over a loudspeaker urged the protestors at that point to slow their advanced. “The message has been delivered.”
From a local newscast, we can see protestors setting blazes to crossed American and Israeli national flags. Shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
Within the last hour, the Independent UK posted a video showing fire from the sky. US Marines and Apache helicopters have deployed air cover. This is likely why the live ground footage has stalled. OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins shared the video of Apache helicopters dropping missiles, lighting the New Year sky with firelight.
Caggins posted the video on his Twitter with the message:
“We have taken the appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens…and to ensure the right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”
VIDEO: AH-64 Apaches protect @USEmbBaghdad. ?“We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens…and to ensure our right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”~@EsperDoD ???? pic.twitter.com/amABHBAOcL
— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) December 31, 2019
Reuters close sources stated that the US embassy staff and the US ambassador in Baghdad have been evacuated off-site.
The local feed from AFAQ TV, streaming live now, shows fires burning on the ground around the Green Zone. The feed from AFAQ also shows building complexes of the embassy on fire from the inside out in the wake of the attack. Dark smoke rises over the scene. Other brighter fires are burning from what appears to be buildings on the streets behind.
JJ McCartney 24/7 show will be streaming live radio updates on events from Baghdad from 3-5 pm ET. McCartney’s show states that the evacuated diplomats have actually been locked up in a safe room. The Telegraph Local is working to confirm if this is an accurate report of the evacuation.
This is a developing story. Keep checking back here for more updates.