Pro-Iran demonstrators left the besieged US embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday after the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force ordered them to withdraw a day after their dramatic incursion.
Thousands of Iraqi supporters of the largely Iranian-trained Hashed had encircled and vandalised the embassy compound Tuesday, outraged by US air strikes that killed 25 Hashed fighters over the weekend.
They marched unimpeded through the checkpoints of the usually high-security Green Zone to the embassy gates, where they broke through a reception area, chanting “Death to America” and spraying pro-Iran graffiti on the walls.
Iraq’s caretaker premier Adel Abdel Mahdi called on the angry crowd to leave the embassy, but most spent the night in dozens of tents set up outside the perimeter wall.
On Wednesday morning, crowds of men brandished the Hashed’s colours, torched US flags and hurled rocks towards the compound.
Security personnel inside responded with tear gas, wounding at least 20 people, the Hashed said.
By the afternoon, the Hashed called on its supporters to leave the embassy and regroup outside the Green Zone “out of respect for the state.”
“You delivered your message,” it said in a statement.