Militias withdraw from US Embassy as security forces fire rubber bullets, tear gas

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Baghdad

Iran-backed militias withdrew from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 1 after security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the mob of Iraqis who gathered at the compound.
The withdrawal came a day after a mix of protesters and militia members and supporters stormed the embassy’s outer walls, prompting a contingent of U.S. Marines to deploy from Kuwait. The groups gained access to restricted areas and battered walls and windows but were prevented from getting into the buildings by Iraqi forces, U.S. security forces, and Apache helicopters. Some 100 Marines arrived just before midnight from Kuwait to reinforce the security forces at the embassy.
On Wednesday, demonstrators hurled rocks at the building while security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse them. By mid-afternoon, most of the protesters appeared to have obeyed a call to withdraw, issued by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella group of mainly Shiite militia, which said the demonstrators’ “message has been heard.” Iraqi security forces deploy during the second day of protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 1, 2020.
The group said the demonstrators should withdraw in deference to the Iraqi government which sought “to preserve the prestige of the state.”–Reuters