Security: Hundreds of protesters gather outside the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 31, to condemn US airstrikes on Iran-backed militia.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert affects Baghdad

This alert began 31 Dec 2019 09:26 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Dec 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Protest
  • Location: Baghdad (map)
  • Date: Dec. 31
  • Impact: Heightened security; likely localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

Summary
Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the US Embassy in Baghdad, Dec. 31, to condemn the US air strikes on Iran-backed militia. Protesters are reportedly trying to push into embassy grounds.

Increased security deployments and localized transportation disruptions are very likely near the US embassy. Clashes are possible if demonstrators ignore security forces' orders to disperse or fail to heed other instructions.

Background and Analysis
Over a dozen rockets landed inside the K-1 Airbase in Kirkuk Dec. 27, killing one US civilian contractor. The US blamed the attack on pro-Iran militia and conducted retaliatory airstrikes on several Kata'ib Hizballah military bases in Iraq and Syria Dec. 29. Kata'ib Hizballah is an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group that receives financial and military support from Iran. In 2009, the US designated the group as a terrorist organization. At least 25 Kata'ib Hizballah members died, and more than 50 were injured in the Dec. 29 US airstrikes.

Advice
Avoid the protests. Exercise increased vigilance. Heed the instructions of local security personnel. Plan for localized ground travel disruptions surrounding the protest site.

Related Advice: Tips for reducing your vulnerability in the event of civil unrest.


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