BAGHDAD, IRAQ — The U.S. embassy in Iraq was hit with attacks during violent protests, an action which has been condemned by President Donald Trump.
He has since called on Iraq to use its forces to protect the embassy.
According to CBS News, an estimated 6000 protesters, including Iraqi Shiite militiamen gathered outside the American embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday during a hostile protest.
Several dozen managed to break into the compound and were heard shouting, 'down, down, USA!', whilst they smashed a main door and set fire to a reception area.
Protesters also threw stones over the walls, pulled down security cameras, stormed empty guard posts and were seen hanging yellow flags belonging to the Kataeb Hezbollah militia on the walls of the embassy.
U.S. soldiers watched from the roof and used a loudspeaker to urge the crowd to stay away.
Videos posted to social media captured smoke funneling out from one guard checkpoint on the perimeter of the compound.
Iraqi special forces responded by firing tear gas to try and disperse the protesters.
According to the New York Times, the demonstration was in retaliation to U.S. airstrikes that killed 25 Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group just two days earlier.
The Pentagon, however, says their airstrikes were in retaliation to an attack consisting of more than 30 rockets on an Iraqi military base near Kirkuk, northern Iraq.
The attack killed an American defense contractor and injured four U.S. service members.
A U.S. defense official told CBS News that the military is sending reinforcements to the embassy from units already within the country, adding, "there are no plans to evacuate Embassy Baghdad." President Trump accused Iran of "orchestrating" the break-in, adding that "they will be held fully responsible."