Supporters storm Republican palace in Iraq Photo: Murtaja Lateef via ANP

Officials working at the Dutch Embassy in Baghdad have been evacuated following the worst outbreak of violence seen in the Iraqi capital in years.

After a day of turmoil in which at least 15 people died, staff were transferred to the German embassy in another part of the city. On Monday morning, riots broke out after influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced he was leaving politics.

The Dutch Embassy is located in the middle of the so-called Green Zone, where many foreign embassies and government buildings are located. Protesters tore down security barriers and stormed government palaces.

“Fire fighting is underway around the compound. The German embassy is far outside the area,” the foreign ministry told NOS.

Al Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats in the October parliamentary elections, but fell short of the majority. He has refused coalition talks, leading to political unrest.

The country is currently under a nationwide curfew. The ministry advises Dutch citizens in the country to leave immediately.

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