Security personnel at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq reportedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd of protesters as the unrest continued outside the compound Wednesday.
The tear gas firing occurred Wednesday after protesters began to throw rocks over the walls of the embassy, according to Fox News. Rubber bullets were also reportedly used, CNN reported. There have been no reports of injuries so far.
Hundreds protested against American airstrikes and began to try and break into the U.S. embassy Tuesday. The protesters scaled the walls of the compound and were about 200 meters from the main building, according to the Associated Press.
Wednesday saw the protesters double down, setting up around 50 tents and a makeshift clinic according to Fox News. Cooks with aprons were on scene to serve the protesters meals and a Shiite cleric was outside of a gate reciting the Koran over a loudspeaker.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Tuesday evening that the attack was organized by “terrorists.”
The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad. All are pictured below outside our embassy. pic.twitter.com/2QfGGrfmDd
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 31, 2019
He named pro-Iran militia leaders who were reportedly at the embassy during the protests and added that they were assisted “by Iranian proxies.”
Around 100 U.S. Marines arrived Tuesday to help fortify defenses. An additional 750 troops were also deployed to Iraq Tuesday in what Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called an “appropriate and precautionary action.”
About 4,000 more troops have been told to prep for the possibility of being deployed to the region, Fox News reported.
The protests are the result of five American airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on places controlled by Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Iraqi Shia paramilitary group. At least 25 people died and 51 were wounded because of the American airstrikes, which were a response to Kataeb Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on US-Iraqi targets.
Many of the protesters are members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which is largely made up of Shiite militias. They have lit fires, defaced the walls of the embassy and broken windows.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday evening that the U.S. embassy was “SAFE” and issued a “Threat” to Iran. He previously blamed Iran for the situation, but the country has denied any involvement. (RELATED: Liberal Pundits Are Calling US Embassy Protests In Iraq Trump’s Benghazi)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned America against any “miscalculation” as the situation continues, according to Fox News.