Clashes Erupt After Iraqi Shiite Cleric Resigns, 15 Dead

by | Aug 29, 2022 | Politics

BAGHDAD (AP) — An influential Shiite cleric announced Monday that he would resign from Iraqi politics, prompting hundreds of his angry followers to storm the government palace and sparking clashes with security forces and between rival militias. At least 15 protesters were killed.Protesters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr pulled down the cement barriers outside the government palace with ropes and breached the palace gates. Many rushed into the lavish salons and marbled halls of the palace, a key meeting place for Iraqi heads of state and foreign dignitaries.AdvertisementIraq’s military announced a nationwide curfew, and the caretaker premier suspended Cabinet sessions in response to the violence. Medical officials said dozens of protesters were wounded by gunfire and tear gas and physical altercations with riot police.As night fell, a militia loyal to al-Sadr clashed with the Popular Mobilization Forces security inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government, wounding at least one woman, according to two security officials. Several mortar rounds were heard, the officials said. The crackle of machine gun fire persisted and echoed throughout central Baghdad.The PMF is an umbrella group composed of state-sanctioned paramilitary groups, the most powerful of which are aligned with al-Sadr’s rivals in the Iran-backed political camp.Security officials said mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were used in the clashes, a culmination of intractable political impasse between the rival camps.AdvertisementIraq’ …

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