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Thousands of Iraqis smashed through a checkpoint and converged on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday to protest the Trump administration’s deadly airstrikes over the weekend and demand that American troops and diplomats leave the country.
Matthew Tueller, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and members of his staff were reportedly forced to flee the building as the embassy protests intensified.
According to Reuters, “some protesters threw stones at the gate while others chanted, ‘No, no, America! … No, no, Trump!'” Demonstrators said they intend to remain outside the embassy until it closes.
“This may be the beginning of the end for the U.S. occupation,” tweeted one observer.
The Pentagon said Sunday’s airstrikes against the Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah militia were retaliation for rocket attacks that killed an American contractor. The U.S. strikes, which hit targets in Syria and Iraq, killed at least 25 people and injured dozens more.
The bombing campaign sparked swift condemnation from Iraqi leaders and warnings of a devastating proxy war between the U.S. and Iran, which the Trump administration says is funding and arming Iraqi militias.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday called the U.S. strikes “a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region.”