Bomb explosions kill 6 civilians in Baghdad as Iraqis protest government

Published 28.11.2019 00:14
emReuters Photo/em
Reuters Photo

Six people were killed and 11 injured in three explosions in Iraq's capital, security officials said on Tuesday.

One of two motorcycles loaded with bombs was detonated near a mosque in southwest Baghdad and the other in the eastern part of the city, officials say.

The last attack involved a roadside bomb in the northeastern Shaab neighborhood.

Since early October, Iraq has seen mass popular protests against poor living conditions and corruption. The demands spiraled into calls for dissolving Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's government.

The bombings took place far from Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government protests that have posed the biggest security challenge to Iraq since the defeat of Daesh.

Security forces killed three protesters and wounded at least 80 on Tuesday as demonstrations raged in Baghdad and across mostly Shiite southern Iraq. The protesters accuse the Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment.

Security and hospital officials said two protesters in Baghdad were killed when security forces fired live ammunition and rubber bullets. In southern Iraq, one protester was killed when security forces fired live rounds after a full day of sit-ins and road closures.

Security and hospital officials confirmed the toll on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

Protesters in Baghdad, most of them balaclava-clad Iraqi youth, carried one of the slain demonstrators, his face covered in blood, away from the scene of the fighting. They sent him to the hospital aboard a tuk tuk, the three-wheeled motorcycles that have become a symbol of the protests.

Another protester died near the banks of the Tigris River, close to Ahrar bridge. Protesters are occupying part of three key bridges — Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinak — in a standoff with security forces.

Demonstrators also burned tires and cut access to main roads in several southern provinces.

In the southern city of Basra, a prominent supporter of the protests was assassinated in his car, a security official said. Sheikh Haidar Abdul Emir Maliki was found dead after gunmen shot him and fled the scene on two motorcycles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Over 350 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded since Oct. 1. The demonstrations are the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq's modern history.

A senior Oil Ministry official said the protests had not disrupted production, but that plans have been made for workers unable to access oil fields.

Protesters also cut roads to the main Gulf commodities port in Umm Qasr. The port was operating at 50% as a result, a port official said.

According to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights, at least 336 Iraqis have been killed and around 15,000 injured since the protests began.

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