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Baghdad Embassy Updates: Protestors withdraw, Hezbollah declares victory

By | Rachel Brooks

Contributor | Telegraph Local 

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The Marines have arrived on the scene in Baghdad. A situation that could have ended brutally has been averted with no lives reported lost at this time. ABC News shares night-vision footage of US Marine Apache helicopters touching down on the ground in the Green Zone, Baghdad, which is the area designated to the Embassy compound. 

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ABC also reports that the protestors stayed the night outside the embassy compound. They ” trashed a reception area” and smashed into windows. Earlier video footage from the Washington Post the day before had shown them lighting fires, hurling rocks and little firebombs, and more.

Even though the Marines have arrived the Hezbollah protests have not stalled entirely. Sputnik News reporting within the last two hours, states that protests have begun for the second day. As they press to the walls, the US Marines standing guard are shooting tear gas, citing NBC. The protestors gathered for today are in the 250 to 300 range. The numbers today are those who remained last night after thousands stormed the gates. The protestors from the first siege made it as far as the main reception area. Then, they were repelled by US Forces. 

Today’s protestors have been pushed back by released tear gas, citing the New York Times. They state that the remaining protestors “largely withdrew”. After a few hours, it was the Hezbollah militia organizers that called on the protestors to leave. All but roughly 200 had withdrawn within the last 4 hours. 

The protestors on New Year’s Day have not managed their way back inside the compound. 

NBC, in a corresponding article, has reported the estimated number of protestors as 6,000 people strong. Not only people but mobilized militia. A good majority of the congregated came from Kataeb Hezbollah. 

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on Tuesday night that the US will be sending 750 soldiers into the Middle East following these events. 

 

Tensions in the Iran and Iraq region are heating up between the United States and the allies in the region. Iran has denied any responsibility for the Embassy mob. NBC quoted Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who stated that if Iran would have wanted to fight the country they would have done it “straight and clearly.” He also cited the extreme hatred that has formed for the United States from Iraq, Iran and the surrounding nations of Afghanistan and Syria.

Khaleej Times reports that the United Arab Emirates have issued a travel warning for their airline flights scheduled for Iraq. The warning that was tweeted out urged Emiratis to stay away from the protests and the gatherings, reiterating a travel warning that had been issued in 2013. Twajudi, a security detail of the UAE, issued the warning as a precaution to its citizens in wake of events. This highlights the increased tension in the Middle East. 

Channel News Asia reports that the protestors who withdrew are from the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi division of Iraq militia. The Kataeb Hezbollah leaders, within the last hour, stated, “We in the Kataeb Hezbollah won’t withdraw even if the others do.” He was outside the US Embassy when he was contacted by AFP.

The security detail on-site at the time of the first wave of protest attacks were not ordered to fire and stop the throng from storming into the compound, also citing CNA. 

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However, citing Axios, the Kataeb Hezbollah has declared this a victory for the militia that “allowed their message to be heard.” They have ordered their troops to withdraw. This within the last 15 minutes. The militia leaders stated then, Axios quoting a Hezbollah spokesman,

“We will take our fight to expel US troops from our land to parliament and if we don’t succeed, we will return.” 

This is a developing story. Telegraph Local is working to confirm the facts and to weed out all the inconsistencies across major news outlets. Continue to check back here for updates.

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