Protesters Withdraw From U.S. Embassy Perimeter In Baghdad
Pro-Iran paramilitary groups protesting against U.S. air strikes in Iraq called on supporters to withdraw from the perimeter of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella group of mainly Shi'ite militia told them to move away from the compound on January 1 in response to an appeal by the Iraqi government. Earlier, U.S. troops fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were gathered outside the embassy compound for a second day. The State Department said diplomatic personnel inside were safe and there were no plans to evacuate them. The Pentagon said that in addition to Marines sent to protect embassy personnel, about 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were being sent to the Middle East and that additional troops were prepared to deploy over the next several days.