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Bahrain summons Iraqi ambassador over embassy attack

June 28, 2019
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Iraqi security forces stand guard near Bahraini embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 27, 2019. Protesters stormed the Bahraini embassy compound in Baghdad Thursday night, removing the flag from above the building and replacing it with a Palestinian banner in protest against a conference held in the gulf nation to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan)
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Iraqi security forces stand guard near Bahraini embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 27, 2019. Protesters stormed the Bahraini embassy compound in Baghdad Thursday night, removing the flag from above the building and replacing it with a Palestinian banner in protest against a conference held in the gulf nation to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bahrain on Friday summoned an Iraqi diplomat in the kingdom over an attack the previous evening on its embassy in Baghdad, condemning the protesters who stormed the mission and urging Iraqi authorities to protect the diplomatic compound, Bahrain’s state-run news agency reported.

According to the report, the Iraqi diplomat was told the attack by Iraqi protesters on the Bahraini Embassy in Baghdad was “an irresponsible behavior that is strongly rejected.”

The attack, apparently carried out by supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, is unlikely to mar relations between Iraq and Gulf Arab nations, which have steadily been improving since Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi took office.

Also, Iraqi President Barham Saleh received a call Friday from the king of Bahrain. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa praised the relations between the two counties and ways of “boosting them, for the good of the two peoples,” Saleh’s office said.

The embassy attack sought to denounce a conference held in Bahrain to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis. The protesters broke through the main gate, took down Bahrain’s flag and replaced it with a Palestinian one.

No one was hurt in the incident. Iraqi security officials said 54 people have been detained for taking part in the attack.

Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said those behind the assault “should be brought to justice.”

An Iraqi security official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said precautionary measures have been taken in Baghdad to protect diplomatic missions. Bahrain’s flag was raised again at the embassy on Friday.

Iraq is home to Iran-backed militias and the embassy attack comes amid tensions between the United States and Iran. Iraq has close relations with both Washington and Tehran and has been trying to ease tensions between them.

The crisis gripping the Mideast stems from President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. last year from the nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers and his imposing of crippling new sanctions on Tehran.

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