Dozens break into US Embassy compound in Baghdad, fire and gunshots reported

Dozens of Iraqi Shiite militia supporters gained entry to the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday after they smashed down a gate and stormed inside, the Associated Press reported.

An AP reporter at the scene saw flames rising from inside the compound and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the embassy.

Hundreds of Iraqis attempted earlier to storm the compound after holding funerals for the 25 fighters from an Iran-backed Shiite militia killed in U.S. airstrikes earlier this week, the Associated Press reported.

Reporters for the AP described a chaotic scene on the ground and reported that the crowd shouted, “Down, down USA!”

Two Iraqi foreign ministry officials told Reuters that the U.S. ambassador and staff have been evacuated. A man on a loudspeaker urged the mob not to enter the compound, saying: “The message was delivered.”
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The gate that was smashed was a side-entrance. Protesters had pushed about 16 feet into a corridor that leads to the main building but the protesters were still about 200 yards away from it.

Sen. Marco Rubio took to Twitter early Tuesday and said Iran was directly responsible for orchestrating the breach.

Security guards were seen retreating to the inside of the embassy as the protesters hurled water bottles and smashed security cameras outside the embassies, the report said.

The U.S. military carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday — days after a U.S. defense contractor was killed in a rocket attack.

Military jet fighters conducted “precision defensive strikes” on five sites of Kataeb Hezbollah, Jonathan Hoffman, a spokesperson for the Pentagon told Fox News. Two defense officials added that Air Force F-15 jet fighters carried out the strikes.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strikes send the message that the U.S. will not tolerate actions by Iran that jeopardize American lives.

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