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Trump vows to hold Iran accountable for mob attack on US embassy in Baghdad

A horde of supporters of an Iran-backed militia attacked and stormed the United States embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday morning as part of a violent protest against military action, according to multiple reports.

The Associated Press reports that the infiltration was perpetrated by "dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters," who smashed through a main door and set fire to a reception area.

According to the Washington Post's story, members of the mob were heard chanting "death to America." The report adds a militia spokesman said the plan was to besiege the embassy until it closed down and U.S. diplomats left the country, but that members of the mob defied pleas made by their own leaders over loudspeakers not to enter the embassy.

Reuters says that the U.S. ambassador and other staff were evacuated from the compound Tuesday morning, but multiple other outlets report that the ambassador was already away on a previously scheduled trip.

Video of the incident shows people setting fires around the perimeter of the embassy compound after the demonstration began to form.

The mob's actions were reportedly in response to airstrikes on the Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah militia over the weekend, which were themselves conducted in response to a Friday rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that wounded American troops and killed a United States contractor. The militia said that 25 of its members were killed in the strikes, and Iran warned of "consequences" on Monday in retaliation for them, The Hill reports.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Trump responded both to the attack and the criticism of the airstrikes, saying, "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."

Republican Members of Congress responded with condemnations of Iran and some praise for the president's message.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that Trump "has put the world on notice - there will be no Benghazis on his watch."

"An attack on our embassy in Iraq will not be ignored!" tweeted Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. "Those responsible in Iran for directing this violent mob should be put on notice that America will swiftly & forcefully hold them accountable for putting American lives in danger."

"When an Iran-backed militia killed an American in Iraq last week, it met with a firm response," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said. "Now our embassy in Baghdad—sovereign U.S. territory—has been attacked in yet another reckless escalation. As the President notes, Iran must be held responsible."

"Our US Embassy in Baghdad has US military personnel and diplomats who are very important to our country and especially their families back home," tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. "Iran supporting terrorist acts to directly harm their safety today must be met with an appropriate, fierce and powerful response."

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