Protesters storm Bahraini embassy in Baghdad in protest against US ‘deal of the century’

Security forces opened fire in the air to disperse the protesters. (AP)
Updated 28 June 2019

Protesters storm Bahraini embassy in Baghdad in protest against US ‘deal of the century’

BAGHDAD:  At least 54 people were reportedly arrested after dozens of Iraqi protesters 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.

Iraqi authorities deployed additional troops to disperse the demonstrators and secure the embassy, which sources said appeared to have been targeted by Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful pro-Iranian Shiite 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 security forces in Baghdad were put on high alert and roads leading to the embassy were closed to prevent more protesters gathering there.

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-Yassari 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 54 people were arrested in connection with the attack and 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.

In response to the incident, Bahrain recalled its ambassador for a consultation. 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.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement early on Friday that read: “The Iraqi government is serious in preventing the violation of the law and will never tolerate such acts, and affirms its absolute rejection of any action threatening diplomatic missions, their security and safety of their employees.”


Over 3 million virus cases reported in Mideast

Labourers, wearing protective face masks, disinfect the front of restaurant in Dubai's marina on March 16, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2020

Over 3 million virus cases reported in Mideast

  • Labourers, wearing protective face masks, disinfect the front of restaurant in Dubai's marina on March 16, 2020

DUBAI: The number of reported coronavirus cases has gone over 3 million in the Middle East, an Associated Press count showed on Friday, with the true number likely even higher.
Across the Mideast, there have been over 75,000 deaths attributed to the virus by health authorities, the AP count relying on reported figures by individual countries shows.
There have been 2.5 million recoveries from the virus causing the COVID-19 illness.
In the Mideast, the hardest-hit nation remains Iran, which served as the initial epicenter of the virus in the region. In Iran alone, authorities say there have been over 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with some 477,000 recoveries and 34,000 deaths. Yet even those numbers are believed to be low, Iranian officials say.

NUMBER

Deaths have been reported in the Middle East region due to the coronavirus, according to health authorities.

In some war-torn nations, it remains difficult to know the scope of the pandemic as well. In Yemen for instance, it’s believed that the vast majority of the country’s cases have gone undiagnosed and untreated, and health workers have said only those who are near death are usually brought to hospitals.