As Iraqi militants and protesters surrounded and stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, a leader of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella militia group threatened to carry out similar attacks on the embassies of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
"When the Popular Mobilization Forces are capable of besieging the embassy of evil in Baghdad on this day, then they will soon besiege all the US military bases in Iraq – they will even besiege the embassies of countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and others," tweeted Abo Alaa al-Walae, Secretary-General of the Iraqi Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a branch of the PMF.
Crowds had rallied on Tuesday to protest against deadly US air strikes on militia bases, by setting fires, throwing rocks and smashing surveillance cameras. They did not breach the huge embassy's main compound.
Overnight, demonstrators pitched tents and camped outside the embassy walls. On Wednesday morning, they were bringing in food supplies, cooking equipment and mattresses, Reuters witnesses said, suggesting they intended to stay for a long time.
However, later the same day, the Iraqi military announced that all members of paramilitary groups and their supporters had withdrawn from the perimeter of the US Embassy in Baghdad.
The protests came in response to US airstrikes carried out on Sunday, targeting at least five locations of the Iraqi-based militia Kataib Hezbollah in response to a rocket attack that killed a US contractor at the K-1 base on Friday. The Pentagon says three targets were in Iraq and two in Syria.
Seth J. Frantzman and Reuters contributed to this report.