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14 protesters killed, 865 wounded in renewed Iraq unrest

Iraqi protesters (Voice of America News/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

At least 14 people were killed and 865 wounded after Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters overnight in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala, medical and security sources said on October 29.

Three protesters died in the southern city of Nasiriyah from wounds sustained in earlier protests, medical sources said.

Demonstrators took to the streets of several Iraqi cities for a fourth day on October 28 to protest against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, which they accuse of corruption.

At least 250 people have been killed since the start of demonstrations against corruption, unemployment, and the lack of basic public services in early October.

The wave of protests — the deadliest unrest since the Islamic State extremist group was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 — is seen as the first major challenge to Mahdi’s government, which came to power nearly a year ago.

Populist Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who backs parliament’s largest bloc and helped bring Mahdi’s coalition government to power, called on October 28 for early elections after a curfew was announced in the capital Baghdad.