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Iraqi people burn a U.S. flag in a protest after an airstrike at the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah militia group in Qaim - Sputnik International

Live Updates: US Staff in Baghdad Secure as Pentagon Mulls Sending More Troops Amid Protests

Tensions between Washington and Baghdad escalated after the American military carried out airstrikes targeting five facilities of the Kata'ib Hezbollah Shia militia group in Syria and Iraq.

Numerous Iraqi citizens have gathered outside the US Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone, protesting against the latest airstrikes by the American military in the country.

According to reports, Iraqis, who earlier attended the funerals of those killed in the military strikes, are burning American flags and shouting "Down, down, USA" and "Death to America".

​Sunday's airstrikes have reportedly killed 25 militia members and left 51 others injured. The operation was a response to an attack on a US base near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday, however, no group claimed responsibility for the assault.

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21:26 GMT 31.12.2019
19:41 GMT 31.12.2019

US President Donald Trump during a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi underscored the need for the country to protect US personnel and facilities amid protests at the American Embassy in Baghdad, the White House said in a readout of a phone call on Tuesday.

"The two leaders discussed regional security issues and President Trump emphasized the need to protect United States personnel and facilities in Iraq", the readout said.

19:25 GMT 31.12.2019

"The attempt to break the American embassy in Baghdad is a violation of international protocols and agreements binding to the Iraqi government [...] Peaceful protest is a right guaranteed and protected by the constitution but attacking foreign missions is against its interest and international reputation", Salih said in the statement, cited by Reuters.

18:47 GMT 31.12.2019

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Abbas Mousavi in a published statement "rejected accusations by American officials" against Iran, calling these "empty" and warning the White House against any further statements like this.

The ministry also called on Washington to reject its "destructive policies" in the Middle East.

16:39 GMT 31.12.2019

The US State Department has said in a statement that American personnel in the embassy in Baghdad are secure and that there is no need for an evacuation.

"US personnel are secure and there has been no breach. There are no plans to evacuate Embassy Baghdad", the spokesman said.

16:37 GMT 31.12.2019

The spokesman pointed out that US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller was to return to the mission from a previously scheduled personal travel.

"Reports that he [Tueller] has been evacuated are false", the spokesman said.

16:30 GMT 31.12.2019
16:20 GMT 31.12.2019

The US Embassy in Baghdad was attacked by demonstrators reportedly shouting "death to America" following airstrikes by American forces in Iraq, The New York Times reported.

16:14 GMT 31.12.2019
15:36 GMT 31.12.2019
14:12 GMT 31.12.2019

Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi and President Barham Salih assured Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the American diplomatic staff in the country will be protected after he stressed that Washington would "defend its people".

11:55 GMT 31.12.2019

Protesters continue to attempt to break inside the US Embassy as American soldiers assigned to guard the diplomatic compound remain barricaded inside, according to media reports.

11:36 GMT 31.12.2019

More than 20 people protesting against the US’ recent attacks on Iraqi Shia militant targets have been injured "by bullets and tear gas bombs" during mass rallies near the US Embassy, the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces' press office said

11:27 GMT 31.12.2019

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has said in a statement that any aggression against embassies or foreign representations will be prevented and punished by law.

"We recall that any aggression or harassment of foreign embassies will be firmly prohibited by the security forces", Abdel Mahdi's office said, several hours after the strike began.

11:17 GMT 31.12.2019
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08:55 GMT 31.12.2019
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