US-linked businesses attacked in Baghdad amid boiling anger at Israeli atrocities in Gaza

Baghdad, Iraq - The US ambassador to Iraq denounced attacks Thursday targeting US-linked brands in Baghdad this week, as anger grows across the Middle East over Israel's destruction of Gaza.

US-linked businesses in Baghdad, such as KFC, were attacked this week by Iraqis protesting US support for Israel's war on Gaza.
US-linked businesses in Baghdad, such as KFC, were attacked this week by Iraqis protesting US support for Israel's war on Gaza.  © REUTERS

A stun bomb exploded at 1:20 AM local time in front of a dealership of the construction equipment company Caterpillar in the Jadriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, the Iraqi security forces said.

Ten minutes later, a blast went off in front of the Cambridge Institute in nearby Palestine Street, which a resident identified as a likely Iraqi-owned language learning center.

On Sunday, a makeshift bomb was thrown at a branch of the US fast-food chain KFC, causing minor damage. The next night, masked men broke into another branch, smashing glass.

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"We condemn recent violent attacks against US and international businesses," the US ambassador to Baghdad, Alina Romanowski, said on X.

She urged the Iraqi government to "conduct a thorough investigation, bring to justice those who are responsible, and prevent future attacks".

"These attacks endanger Iraqi lives and property, and could weaken Iraq's ability to attract foreign investment," Romanowski added.

The Iraqi security forces said Thursday's attacks, whose motives remained unknown, did not cause any damage or injuries, adding they were a "desperate attempt to harm Iraq's reputation".

After the KFC attacks, security forces said they had arrested several suspects.

Pressure grows to end US presence in Iraq grows

Since Israel began pummeling Gaza in October, a boycott movement spearheaded by pro-Palestinian activists has targeted major Western brands, such as Starbucks and McDonald's.

Iraq does not recognize Israel's statehood, and all of its political parties support the Palestinian cause.

Earlier this week, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr renewed his calls to close the US embassy in Baghdad "through diplomatic means without bloodshed," after Israel massacred dozens of civilians in a camp in Gaza.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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