US, UK firms targeted in Baghdad over Israel’s Gaza war

KFC is owned by the American corporation Yum! Brands, which is known for its investments in Israeli startups. [Getty]

US and British companies in Baghdad have faced a series of attacks amid growing anti-US sentiment in Iraq, fuelled by Israel’s ongoing massacres against civilians in Gaza. The Iraqi government described the attacks as attempts to “destabilise the country” and reiterated its call for enhanced efforts to end Israel’s bloodshed in Gaza.

On Thursday, explosives targeted the US company Caterpillar and the British Cambridge Institute. Fortunately, these attacks caused no casualties or material damage.

The United States condemned the recent attacks on foreign businesses in Baghdad on Thursday, urging Iraqi authorities to take action and warning that such incidents could deter investment in the country.

“We condemn recent violent attacks against US and international businesses and urge the Government of Iraq to conduct a thorough investigation, bring to justice those who are responsible, and prevent future attacks,” US ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski wrote on X.

“These attacks endanger Iraqi lives and property, and could weaken Iraq’s ability to attract foreign investment,” the ambassador said, emphasising that the US remains committed to developing strategic partnerships to build economic opportunities and prosperity for all Iraqis.

These incidents follow earlier attacks on branches of the popular US fast-food restaurant KFC in Baghdad.

Several Western brands and companies in the Arab world have faced boycott calls because they have direct links to Israel. Pizza Hut and KFC are both owned by the American corporation Yum! Brands, which is known for its investments in Israeli startups.

The boycotts are a response to Israel’s deadly military campaign against the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 36,000, mainly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

On Thursday, the Security Media Cell confirmed that explosions near the Caterpillar Company in Jadriyah and the Cambridge Institute on Palestine Street in Baghdad did not result in any human or material damage. The incidents occurred at 01:20 and 01:30, respectively.

It described the attacks as a “desperate attempt” to destabilise Iraq and damage its reputation. “Such actions are a desperate attempt to harm Iraq’s reputation, the direction of reconstruction, and the provision of services to citizens, as well as the status and sacrifices of our security forces,” the Security Media Cell stated.

Iraq remains a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and has frequently condemned the lack of global support for justice for Palestinians. 

On Tuesday, influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the peaceful expulsion of US ambassador Alina L. Romanowski and the closure of the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. This demand protests Washington’s support for Israel amid ongoing violence in Gaza.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Sadr condemned Israel’s defiance of an International Court of Justice appeal to stop the massacres in Rafah and criticised the international community’s silence. He also denounced “the US’s fake democracy and freedom” and accused the US of hypocritically ignoring Israeli atrocities against Gaza’s civilians.

In related news, the Iraqi government called on Wednesday for Arab, Islamic, and regional action to prevent genocide in Palestine. It renewed its support for the Palestinian cause and urged international bodies to allow medical and food aid and humanitarian relief efforts.

Government spokesman Basim Al-Awadi emphasised the need for a strong Arab and regional stance and criticised the international community’s silence on the violence in Gaza, particularly the recent escalation in Rafah. He urged for immediate action to stop the violence and support humanitarian efforts.

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