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Trump vows ‘Iran will be held responsible for orchestrating US embassy attack’ on Twitter

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, participates in a roundtable discussion on the Governors’ Initiative on Regulatory Innovation Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
December 31, 2019

President Trump lashed out at Iran Tuesday morning on Twitter after pro-Iranian protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!” Trump tweeted.

Trump tweeted again a few hours later, saying, “To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!”

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Hundreds of protesters stormed the embassy on Tuesday less than two days after the U.S. conducted retaliatory airstrikes on five sites belonging to the Iran-backed Iraqi militia, Kata’ib Hezbollah.

The protesters set fire to the embassy’s perimeter, smashed windows and doors, and marched and chanted while shouting “death to America” and “down, down America.”

Embassy employees and diplomats were forced to flee the location and are now in hiding.

The U.S. airstrikes conducted on Sunday came in response after the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia launched a 30+ rocket attack on the K1 military base near Kirkuk, Iraq, which left one U.S. defense contractor dead, and four other U.S. service members injured, according to a Pentagon statement.

The U.S. airstrikes killed 25 militia members and injured 51, and the militia vowed to strike back on the U.S. in revenge.

“Our battle with America and its mercenaries is now open to all possibilities,” the group said in a statement, as Associated Press reported.

“We have no alternative today other than confrontation and there is nothing that will prevent us from responding to this crime,” the group added.

Mohammed Mohieh, a spokesman for the group, told The Associated Press that the attack was a “massacre” and a “crime” and insisted that U.S. forces “must leave.”

In remarks made at Mar-a-Lago Sunday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the militia had been attacking coalition forces for quite some time before the U.S. decided to launch its retaliatory strikes. Like Trump, Pompeo also took aim at Iran.

“The attacks that took place against an Iraqi facility threatened American forces. They have been going on now for weeks and weeks and weeks. This wasn’t the first set of attacks,” Pompeo said, accompanied by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

“Today what we did was take a decisive response that makes clear what President Trump has said for months and months and months,” Pompeo said. “We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.”