By Charles Creitz | Fox News
Stunning photos reveal scenes of destruction inside the U.S. Embassy in Iraq’s capital one day after Iran-backed militiamen stormed the previously heavily fortified compound in protest of recent airstrikes.
The photos, released Wednesday by The Associated Press, show windows blown out and the charred remains of papers, office furniture and shelving inside the Baghdad complex.
Smoke was still seen rising from a reception room in the embassy and an embassy checkpoint was left in complete ruins from the conflagration.
Fire damage can be seen in a reception room of the U.S. embassy compound, that was burned by pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. On Tuesday, dozens of protesters had broken into the compound, trashing a reception area and smashing windows . (Associated Press)
Protesting militants stormed the compound on Tuesday, leading President Trump to call for an immediate response that included a surge of U.S. Marines to quell the unrest.
American troops dropped flares from aircraft and fired tear gas to disperse the militia.
In a Fox News interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made reference to Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the shadowy Tehran-linked militant-slash-intelligence organization known as the Quds Force.
On “Special Report,” Pompeo said there were no plans to evacuate the embassy or to pull troops out of Iraq following the attack.
“You have to put this in a larger context,” he said. “This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran [being] engaged in global terror campaigns, nuclear weapons dreams and nuclear enrichment capability.”
Pompeo criticized the Obama administration, appearing to make a veiled reference to its nighttime delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to Tehran.
Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters are seen through broken windows of a burned checkpoint in front of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (Associated Press)
“We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the former Kansas congressman said of the Trump administration. “We will continue to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity and we will make sure we have the resources to do so.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.