04:06 GMT +320 January 2020
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    Iraqi protesters on 31 December stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad and torched its outer fence in protest against recent US airstrikes targeting Kata’ib Hezbollah Shiite militants in Iraq and Syria.

    Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned US airstrikes on a militant group in Iraq.

    "The Iranian govt & nation & I strongly condemn the US's malice", Khamenei said on his official Twitter account.

    He continued on by saying that if anyone threatens Iran, "we will unhesitatingly confront & strike them".

    The statement comes a day after Iraqi protesters stormed the US Embassy in the capital Baghdad in response to American airstrikes against Iraqi Shia Kata’ib Hezbollah militants.

    US officials were quick to immediately claim that Iran had orchestrated the protest action, while President Trump has said that the US Embassy in Iraq was safe despite being attacked by pro-Iranian protesters and warned that Tehran would be held fully responsible for any damage caused to US facilities.

    US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, for his part, said that the United States would immediately deploy about 750 servicemen to the Middle East in the wake of the events in Baghdad. Media reports said, citing sources from the Pentagon, that Washington was preparing to urgently deploy up to 4,000 troops to the region.

    Iran's Foreign Ministry on the same day dismissed the "empty" accusations coming out of Washington about Iran allegedly orchestrating attacks on the US Embassy in Iraq.

    The Pentagon targeted facilities of Kataib Hezbollah, part of Hashd al-Shabi, in Iraq and Syria over the weekend for allegedly launching a rocket attack on a base in Kirkuk that killed a US contractor. Hashd al-Shabi, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, said dozens of its fighters had been killed in the US strikes. 

    Tags:
    Airstrikes, protests, United States, Iraq, Iran
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