The US embassy compound in Baghdad was attacked on Dec. 31, 2019, by crowds protesting the American airstrikes against bases of Kataib Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militia, in Syria and Iraq. The airstrikes were in retaliation after American troops were wounded and a contractor was killed in a rocket attack in Kirkuk on Dec. 27.
No diplomatic staff inside the embassy were injured, although the walls and reception area of the compound were damaged. The US was able to regain control by Jan. 1 after calling in Marine forces from Kuwait.
The attack further fueled tensions between the US and Iran, which is a primary backer of the militias. The US military issued a strong warning that it would pre-emptively strike Iranian-backed militias if there was any indication that more attacks against American personnel were planned.
Protesters and militia fighters enter the the U.S. Embassy during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi, paramilitary forces loyal to Iraq, in Baghdad, Dec. 31.
Protesters damage property inside the U.S. embassy compound, in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec 31.
A wounded member of the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces gets help during a protest to condemn American air strikes on their bases, outside the main gate of the US Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command prepare to deploy to reinforce Baghdad’s US embassy from a base in Kuwait, on Dec. 31.
US embassy security officials are seen as protesters and militia fighters gather to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces).
Marines keep watch at the US embassy in Baghdad on Jan. 1.
Iraqi Shiite militia supporters and protesters take part in the sit-in in front of the US embassy against deadly airstrikes on sites of a Shiite militia on Jan 1.
Protesters burn property in front of the US embassy compound, in Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 31.
A protester puts a military shoe on a picture of US President Donald Trump during a demonstration against deadly US airstrikes on sites of a Shiite militia on Dec. 31 in Baghdad.
Iraqi protesters break the bullet-proof glass of the US embassy’s windows in Baghdad as thousands of angry Iraqis, including members the Hashed al-Shaabi, a mostly Shiite network of local armed groups trained and armed by powerful neighbor Iran, breached the outer wall.
Protesters try to set fire to the outside fence of the US embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
A US soldier is seen at a watchtower of the US embassy during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces).
An Iraqi Shiite militia supporter tries to disable the camera on the outer wall of the US embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
A wounded person is seen as outraged Iraqi protesters storm the US embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
Outraged Iraqi protesters storm the US embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
Outraged Iraqi protesters storm the US embassy in Baghdad.
Iraqi supporters and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi military network pull off a plaque from the entrance of the US embassy.
Outraged Iraqi protesters pose for a photo with US embassy plaque.
A commander of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi Jawad al-Talaibawi (center) takes a selfie at a gate of the US embassy in Baghdad.
A handout picture received from the US embassy in Iraq on Dec. 31, 2019, shows smoke billowing from a sentry box at an entrance of the embassy in the capital Baghdad.
A protester inspects the entrance of the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
A member of Iraqi security forces stands guard during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces).
Gabriel H. Sanchez is the photo essay editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York City.
Contact Gabriel H. Sanchez at [email protected].
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Kate Bubacz is the Photo Director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Kate Bubacz at [email protected].
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