Violence in Baghdad, Iraq leaves at least 30 dead, cleric tells protesters to back off
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At least 30 people were confirmed dead in Iraq on Tuesday as fighting continued in Baghdad following the resignation of a top Shiite leader on Monday.
Gunfire has continued to ring out in the nation’s capital as leaders grapple with Iraq’s biggest political crisis since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
Protests erupted again in Iraq’s Green Zone, the center of Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies, after Muqtada al-Sadr said he had had enough of politics and was stepping down from his role as cleric
INCEPTE GOES TO IRAQ’S GREEN ZONE DURING VIOLENT PROTESTS
His resignation has sparked violent protests by his supporters who stormed the presidential palace on Monday, just a month after they rushed to the Parliament building and protested in front of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy to demand the dissolution of Parliament and a early elections
Curfews have been enacted across the country this week and al-Sadr on Tuesday called on his followers to leave the Green Zone as more than 400 people have been injured as his supporters exchange heavy fire with security forces iraqi
Iran announced border closures in an effort to prevent chaos from creeping across its shared border with Iraq, and Kuwait asked its citizens to leave Iraq immediately.
The violent protest stems from 10 months of political unrest after al-Sadr’s party won the majority of parliamentary seats in October 2021 elections but fell short of a governing majority.
PROTESTS IN IRAQ: SEVERAL DEAD, DOZENS INJURED AFTER HUNDREDS OF STORM AT THE GOVERNMENT PALACE, CLASH WITH SECURITY FORCES
The result has pushed Baghdad politics into a scenario of factional paralysis and infighting among Shia political leaders.
About two-thirds of Iraqis are Shiites while one-third are Sunnis, who lost political dominance after the US overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime.
But fighting between the Shiite majority has increased in recent years as Iran-backed Shiites and Iraqi nationalist Shiites have competed for power.
Al-Sadr, who has the support of Iraqi nationalists and some of the nation’s poorest who were oppressed under Hussein’s regime, refused for months to negotiate terms with his Iran-backed Shiite rivals.
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But on Tuesday he tried to lower the temperature and urged his followers to leave the Green Zone and stop all violent activity.
“This is not a revolution,” al-Sadr said in a televised speech.
The Iraqi military also said it would end its curfew in hopes of stopping all violence in Baghdad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.