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Chaos in Iraq as Sadr’s Loyalists Storm Government Buildings

Tuesday 30 August 2022
Chaos in Iraq as Sadr’s Loyalists Storm Government Buildings

Alwaght- Tensions once again have soared in Iraq after powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr said Monday he was quitting politics, prompting his loyalists to storm Baghdad's Green Zone, home to government offices and diplomatic missions.

Several shells reportedly fell in the Green Zone, which was followed by the sound of automatic weapons being fired through the Green Zone.

Casualties also have been reported in the violence. France 24 cited the security source as saying Sadr's supporters opened fire at the Green Zone from the outside, adding that security forces inside "were not responding".

The army had announced a nationwide curfew from 7:00 pm (1600 GMT).

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi said "security or military forces, or armed men" were prohibited from opening fire on protesters.

Protests spread to other parts of the country, with Sadr followers storming government buildings in the cities of Nasiriyah and Hillah south of Baghdad, an AFP correspondent and witnesses said.

Shortly after he made his surprise declaration, Sadr's followers burst into the Republican Palace in Baghdad, where cabinet meetings are usually held.

Inside the opulent palace, protesters lounged in armchairs in a meeting room, some waved Iraqi flags and took photographs of themselves, and others cooled off in a swimming pool in the garden.

Sadr announced earlier on Twitter he was stepping back from politics.

"I've decided not to meddle in political affairs. I therefore announce now my definitive retirement," said Sadr, a longtime player in the war-torn country's political scene, though he himself has never directly been in government.

He added that "all the institutions" linked to his Sadrist movement will be closed, except the mausoleum of his father, assassinated in 1999, and other heritage facilities.

 

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Iraq Muqtada Sadr Chaos Green Zone

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Supreme Leader meets with Iraqi PM in Tehran

Supreme Leader meets with Iraqi PM in Tehran