Security forces disperse protestors attacking US restaurants in Baghdad: source

Security forces disperse protestors attacking US restaurants in Baghdad: source

Shafaq News/ Security forces were forced to disperse protesters who attempted to close down American restaurants in Baghdad's Palestine Street on Monday, according to a security source.

The source, speaking to Shafaq News Agency, said that "tensions arose in the Palestine Street area after groups emerged trying to shut down American restaurants in the area."

"Security forces fired warning shots into the air in an attempt to disperse the groups," the source added. "The groups attacked two restaurants in Palestine Street and vandalized their furniture."

Over the past few days, Baghdad has seen multiple attacks on "American restaurants." Iraqi and pan-Arab outlets have associated the incidents with the ongoing boycott of businesses deemed supportive of Israel. This view has particularly gained traction as the assaults have coincided with the bloodshed in Gaza. Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities have been quick to respond and sought to downplay the severity of the attacks.

Interior Minister Abdul Amir Al-Shammari on May 27 announced the arrest of a number of suspects and ordered "the punishment of negligent security forces."

Interior Ministry spokesman Miqdad Miri on the same day described the assaults as "minor" and underscored the prompt reopening of the targeted restaurants.

Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist Movement, on May 28 reacted to the Israeli military escalation in Gaza by renewing his call for the "insolent" US ambassador to Iraq to be expelled.

Al-Sadr demanded the shutdown of the American embassy in Baghdad "through diplomatic means" to demonstrate "our morals and peacefulness vis-a-vis their terrorism and impudence."

American brands like KFC only recently expanded into Baghdad, two decades after the US-led invasion of Iraq. Since the eruption of the Gaza war last October, its franchises in federal Iraq have increasingly attracted protests over the parent company's perceived support of Israel.

The assaults come only weeks after the Iraqi premier embarked on his first visit to the White House. During his tour of the United States, Sudani vowed to "support US companies in Iraq."

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