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Iraqi protesters gesture near the burnt Iranian Consulate
The Iranian employees had withdrawn from the building to safe places before the attack, the source said on condition of anonymity. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry later strongly regretted protesters' attack on the Iranian consulate, saying "it is an unacceptable development and is not in line with national hospitality for (diplomatic) missions," according to a statement by the ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub.
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Iraqi protesters are seen in front of the burnt Iranian Consulate in Basra
Protesters also attacked a headquarters of the Iran-backed Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militant group and set fire to its building in Bareiha area in central Basra, incurring heavy gunfire from the group's fighters, the source said.
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An Iraqi protester gestures in front of the burnt Iranian Consulate in Basra
Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or League of People of Righteousness, is part of the Hashd Shaabi brigades. The group was allegedly funded, trained and armed by Iran's Quds Force during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and later became allied to the Shiite-led government.
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Iraqi protesters are seen near the burnt Iranian Consulate
Witnesses said the demonstrators set fire to the gate of the Presidential palace complex at the edge of the city, which includes houses of local top officials and some bases of paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades.
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Iraqi protesters burn the Iranian Consulate in Basra
Meanwhile, Qais al-Khaz'ali, head of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq group, threatened to "intervene strongly" if "things reach to the level that threats the existence of the state."