Iraq's Hashd Shaabi calls its protesters near U.S. embassy in Baghdad to withdraw

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-01 19:54:09|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces called Wednesday on protesters who stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to withdraw, a Hashd Shaabi statement said.

The statement attributed the withdrawal to the respect of the Iraqi government call, which ordered the withdrawal earlier in order to preserve the prestige of the state.

The Hashd Shaabi "tells the masses who are there (at the U.S. embassy) that your message has arrived," according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the Hashd Shaabi appreciated the position of the caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, and other political, religious, cultural personalities who reject and denounce the U.S. attack on the Hashd Shaabi's bases in western Iraq, according to the statement.

The Hashd Shaabi also called on Iraqis to participate in a funeral in Baghdad's southern district of Jaderiyah for the deaths of the Hashd Shaabi members who were killed in the U.S. airstrikes on Sunday evening.

The statement came after dozens of demonstrators continued their sit-in protest and their attempts to advance toward the outer walls of the U.S. embassy, but the U.S. troops fired tear gas to disperse them and keep them outside the U.S. embassy compound.

Local media reports said that the protesters in front of the U.S. embassy started to gradually withdraw from the scene after the statement which demanded the protesters to withdraw in respect to the Iraqi government call.

On Tuesday, a statement by the office of Abdul Mahdi called on the demonstrators to leave immediately, saying that "any attack on foreign embassies is an act that will be strictly prevented by the security forces, and will be punished severely by the law."

The protests started on Tuesday when hundreds of mourners, wearing Hashd Shaabi's military uniforms, rallied outside the embassy chanting slogans condemning airstrikes by the U.S. forces against Hashd Shaabi bases in Iraq.

The protest then turned violent as the protesters managed to broke into an outer yard of the embassy, but were repelled by the security forces who deployed tear gas against them.

Local media aired photos showing Qais al-Khazali, head of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militia, and top Hashd Shaabi leader Hadi Al Amri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis participating in the protest.

On Sunday evening the U.S. forces bombarded headquarters of Hashd Shaabi's 45th and 46th Brigades, leaving 25 killed and 51 injured.

A U.S. military statement said that U.S. forces attacked on Sunday evening five bases of Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) in Iraq and Syria in response to repeated attacks by KH against U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.