Donald Trump announced that the US embassy in Baghdad is safe after some 6,000 pro-Iran militia fighters stormed the compound on Tuesday, set walls ablaze and chanted ‘Death to America!’ in a violent retaliation for American air strikes.
The president doubled down in his warning to Iran, saying their government will be held ‘fully responsible’ for the attack that forced the Pentagon to send 100 Marines as reinforcements to the Iraqi embassy.
‘The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday evening.
‘Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!’ he added.
In a third tweet he quipped ‘The Anti-Bengahzi!’ comparing his administration’s response to that of the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on a diplomatic Benghazi, Libya compound that left four Americans dead.
In the Tuesday attack militia members with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) swarmed the high-security compound, breaking down the main door to the compound and setting a fire in the reception area, forcing US soldiers inside the embassy to fire tear gas, stun grenades and warning shots. In the chaos 62 of the thousands of fighters were injured, according to PMF.
Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller was on leave at the time of the attack and embassy staff had already been evacuated before the US Marine guard became besieged behind the bullet-proof glass and on the rooftops.
The attack on the embassy was is in retaliation for US air strikes on the Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah on Sunday night, which killed two dozen fighters. Those strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor at a US base in Kirkuk.