U.S. Baghdad ambassador evacuated from embassy amid protests: Iraqi officials

Protesters and militia fighters gather to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador and other staff have been evacuated from the embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad as protests rage outside, two Iraqi Foreign Ministry officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The ambassador and staff left out of security concerns. One official said a few embassy protection staff remained. Thousands of protesters and militia fighters gathered on Tuesday outside the main gate of the embassy compound to condemn U.S. air strikes on bases belonging to an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Kevin Liffey