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Protesters withdraw after standoff in Iraq

January 2, 2020 6:42 am

Protesters who have been demonstrating outside the US embassy in Iraq for a second day have withdrawn from the area after a tense standoff.

On Tuesday, the embassy was attacked by a crowd angered by US air strikes targeting an Iran-backed militia.

Clashes continued on Wednesday as demonstrators hurled stones while US forces fired tear gas.

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The hostilities came amid escalating tension between the US and Iran – the two main Iraqi government sponsors.

Tuesday’s attack – which sparked a war of words between US President Donald Trump and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – had threatened to escalate, with the US defence secretary announcing the deployment of additional troops to the region.

But by Wednesday evening, the Iraqi government announced that all groups had withdrawn from the perimeter of the US embassy in Baghdad following an appeal for calm.

A small group of protesters however began to set up a camp in front of a nearby hotel.

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