BAGHDAD: Iraq on Friday condemned an “attack” by protesters on the Bahraini Embassy that prompted Manama to recall its ambassador from Baghdad.
Upset by Manama’s hosting of a US-led Middle East peace conference, at least 200 stormed the Bahraini Embassy in Baghdad on Thursday night to protest against Bahrain’s participation in the US-led economic “deal of the century” plan for Palestine. Around 54 people were reportedly arrested.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s office issued a statement early on Friday that read: “The Iraqi government will never tolerate such acts, and affirms its absolute rejection of any action threatening diplomatic missions.”
Iraqi authorities deployed additional troops to disperse the protesters and secure the embassy, which sources said appeared to have been targeted by Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful pro-Iranian armed factions in Iraq.
The protesters burned US and Bahraini flags outside the embassy in Mansour, western Baghdad, before entering the inner courtyard, taking down the Bahraini flag and replacing it with a Palestinian flag. The gesture seemingly symbolized their rejection of US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled economic plan to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Bahraini capital Manama this week hosted a two-day “Peace to Prosperity” workshop to discuss the plan, which was attended by Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser. Palestinian authorities rejected the proposal, which does not address the two-state solution, and refused to participate in the workshop.
Although shots were heard ringing out in the vicinity of the embassy for about eight minutes, no casualties were immediately reported.
Iraqi Interior Minister Yassin Al-Yassiri went to the embassy in an attempt to “calm the situation” and meet the Bahraini ambassador. Security was heightened in nearby areas. Saad Maan, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said Al-Yassiri had stressed that the security of embassies and diplomatic missions is a red line that must not be crossed under any circumstances.
He also revealed that the minister will appoint a committee to investigate the incident and the individuals responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the embassy and its staff.
The Iraqi government expressed its “deep regret” over what it described as “encroachment on the embassy building” and “acts of sabotage that violate the law and the authority of the state and the immunity of diplomatic missions.”