Protesters storm Bahraini embassy in Iraq over peace conference

Protesters storm Bahraini embassy compound in Baghdad in protest against Bahrain economic conference.

Elad Benari,

Bahrain workshop
Bahrain workshop
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

Protesters stormed the Bahraini embassy compound in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday night, in protest of the Bahrain economic conference held this week to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis, The Associated Press reports.

The demonstrators removed the Bahraini flag from above the building and replaced it with a Palestinian Authority banner, according to the report.

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry condemned the attack, saying the kingdom is calling back home its ambassador Salah Ali al-Maliki for discussions.

It added that Iraqi authorities have a responsibility to protect the embassy in Baghdad.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by supporters of Iran-backed Iraqi militias.

The Iraqi government issued a statement expressing "deep regret" over the attack and vowing to "bring all saboteurs to justice." The statement said Iraqi security forces took firm measures to force the protesters out of the embassy.

Iraq's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahhaf told The Associated Press that Baghdad condemns the attack on the embassy adding that "Iraqi authorities will go after those who took part of the attack as well as the instigators."

No one was injured in the standoff that lasted more than an hour. Iraqi troops were deployed around the compound in the late hours of Thursday, according to AP.

An Iraqi security official said the protesters forced their way in by breaking through the main gate but stayed in the garden without storming the offices inside the compound.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said security forces opened fire in the air to disperse the protesters and reinforcements were sent to Bagdad's western neighborhood of Mansour where the embassy is.

More than an hour later, the nearly 200 protesters, waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags, dispersed.

During the Bahrain conference this week, the US administration unveiled the economic portion of its peace plan, which aims to raise more than $50 billion for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and create one million jobs for its residents within a decade.

The PA boycotted the economic conference in Bahrain, calling it a meaningless meeting that was part of a meaningless plan.

The PA has been boycotting the US ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017 and his relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Several Arab countries boycotted the Bahrain conference as well, including Lebanon and Iraq.