Two Iraqi protesters wounded by gunfire

Filed on December 30, 2012

BAGHDAD - Bodyguards for a senior Iraqi politician opened fire to disperse angry anti-government demonstrators and two people were wounded in the country’s west, an official said.

The shooting happened near the city of Ramadi during a visit by Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al Mutlaq, according to Anbar provincial council member Talib Hamadi Al Dulaimi.

It was unclear if the gunshot wounds were caused by intentional fire or happened accidentally. It is often difficult to assign blame for gunfire injuries in Iraq, where weapons ownership is common.

Al Mutlaq is one of the government’s most senior politicians, and despite his post he has been a frequent critic of the Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Although his visit was not announced in advance, he likely would have expected to find a sympathetic crowd in Anbar.

At one point during his visit, a dispute broke out and shots were fired after demonstrators insisted the official show support for their protest by submitting his resignation from the government.

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