By | Rachel Brooks
Contributor | Telegraph Local | See the New African Living Standard
Protests against US airstrikes have escalated to the point where the US embassy of Baghdad is under siege. Washington Post is streaming live from the scene. Flashes and smoke rise from the base of the building. People are looking on as they wave yellow state flags. Washington Post describes it as “hundreds of supporters of an Iranian-backed militia surrounded the US embassy on December 31, 2019, trapping diplomats inside.” In the livestream, people were observed crowding in on platforms to film and to throw little flash bombs and stones.
As they were gathered there, they were surprised and scattered off the platform by an explosion that broke the quiet. Smoke could be seen rising from that view on the building. You can also see fire rising from this side of the wall. Protestors climbed the platform again after some time had passed from the explosion. There is a collection of stones arranged at their feet. We can observe them hailing them over the privacy wall that surrounds the embassy.
From over an intercom, voices have begun singing “Allahu Akhbar” off an on. It fades in and out of song receding to the droning unrest of voices.
The voice rose in song as little firebombs peppered the sky at random intervals. The scene except for the song was quiet for a while. It was that quiet that was itself unsettling.
They are protesting airstrikes on December 29 that killed and maimed militia fighters. You can hear a swarm of voices some shouting in the distance and some chattering in a droning confusion.
Also citing Washington Post, the shouts translate to “death to America.’.
Trump has responded with anger to this attack. Tweeting from the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded and we always will. 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.”
A spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah has stated to the Washington Post that the protestors will besiege the embassy until the facility shuts down, and the US leaves Iraq.
Associated Press confirms that it is militiamen that storm the embassy, as Trump blames it on Iran. The reason for this is that Kateb Hezbollah is an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. The AP states that Iraq’s outrage at the airstrikes and turning away as the militia sieges the Embassy are signs of rapidly deteriorating US-Iraq relations. Iraq may not defend the Embassy from the assailants.
AP also states that they saw at least three US soldiers take to the Embassy’s roof, ready to stand off the siege.
Planes are closing in on the scene. Protestors and the Washington Post reporters turned their cameras to the sky as the planes swarmed over. Fires are blazing in at random sites and near little structures_with people filming as they stare into the lonely glow that now pervades the nightfall. People are violently shaking the metallic gates on the outer structures they’ve lit fire to. This is where the livestream paused as of approximately 9:40 am ET.
This is a developing story. Please keep checking back here at Telegraph Local for updates and livestream recaps.