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Iraq expelled the Swedish ambassador and protesters torched the Swedish embassy in Baghdad


Sep 30, 2016
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Protesters angered by burning of copies of the Quran in Sweden set fire to the Swedish embassy in the Iraqi capital.

Iraq has expelled the Swedish ambassador only hours after Iraqi protesters angered by the burning of copies of the Quran in Sweden stormed the Swedish embassy in central Baghdad, scaling the walls of the compound and setting it on fire.

The Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, also recalled his country’s charge d’affaires in Sweden, the government said on Thursday, and suspended the working permit of Swedish telecom company Ericsson on Iraqi soil, according to state media.

Early on Thursday morning, demonstrators at the embassy waved flags and signs showing the influential Iraqi Shia religious and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr, according to Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq.

The burning of the embassy was called by supporters of al-Sadr to protest against the second planned burning of a Quran in front of the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm on Thursday. While protesters in Sweden kicked and partially damaged a book they said was the Quran, they did not burn it as they had threatened to do.

The Finnish embassy in Baghdad is adjacent to the Swedish embassy, in an area enclosed by blast walls. Finland’s ambassador to Iraq, Matti Lassila, told the Finnish public broadcaster YLE that the staff of the Swedish and Finnish embassies were proactively evacuated on Wednesday and were uninjured.

All embassy staff were safe, the Swedish foreign ministry press office also said in a statement, condemning the attack and highlighting the need for Iraqi authorities to protect diplomatic missions.


Protesters gather near the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on July 20, 2023 [Ahmed Saad/Reuters]

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