Iraqi cleric Al Sadr announces hunger strike

State media says the leader announced a hunger strike until the violence that killed 12 people in the country stops



Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Moqtada Al Sadr protest at the Green Zone, in Baghdad. — Reuters
Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Moqtada Al Sadr protest at the Green Zone, in Baghdad. — Reuters

By Agencies

Published: Mon 29 Aug 2022, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Aug 2022, 11:55 PM

Powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is said to have announced a hunger strike until the violence and use of weapons stops, Iraq’s state news agency INA and state TV reported late on Monday.

There was no immediate confirmation from Sadr’s office.

Twelve protesters were killed after supporters of Al Sadr stormed the government palace in Baghdad’s Green Zone as the powerful leader said he was quitting politics.

Shots were fired in the fortified area which houses government buildings as well as diplomatic missions, an AFP correspondent said, as tensions soared amid an escalating political crisis that has left Iraq without a new government, prime minister or president for months.

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Medics told AFP that 12 Sadr supporters had been shot dead and 270 other protesters were hurt — some with bullet wounds and others suffering tear gas inhalation.

Witnesses said earlier that Sadr loyalists and supporters of a rival bloc, the pro-Iran Coordination Framework, had exchanged fire.

The Framework condemned an “attack on state institutions”, urging the Sadrists to engage in “dialogue”.

The army announced a nationwide curfew from 7pm (1600 GMT), as security forces patrolled the capital.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhemi ordered an investigation into the casualties, adding that “security or military forces, or armed men” were prohibited from opening fire on protesters.

“Our security forces are responsible for protecting protesters. Any violation in this regard will be subject to legal accountability,” his office tweeted, adding that he urged people to abide by the curfew.


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