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Iraq: Armed militias attack protesters in Baghdad, leaving 20 dead, over 100 injured

Iraq protests - November 2019 (File photo)
Iraq protests - November 2019 (File photo)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, December 7, 2019—Eyewitness reports indicate club-wielders and armed members of the Iran-backed Katayeb Hezbollah militia group launched a vicious attack on the night of Friday, December 6, targeting protesters in Baghdad’s iconic Tahrir Square. Spraying the peaceful demonstrators with continuous volleys of live ammunition, the attack resulted in at least 20 youths killed at the scene and more than 100 others injured. Demonstrators at the site were seen scrambling the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals. Many of those wounded were transferred to Baghdad’s Sheikh Zaed Hospital.

 

 

France24 cites medical and security sources saying demonstrators are concerned about anti-demonstration measures launched by pro-Iranian regime groups in Tahrir Square that pave the grounds for such violent measures.

Armed militia members were also seen attacking a parking lot near Baghdad’s al-Sinak Bridge. This site has been under the control of demonstrators for more than two weeks. Armed militias were able to take control of the parking lot on Friday night and threw Molotov cocktails to set the site afire.

The October Revolution Demonstration Committee called on the people of Baghdad to rush to the city’s Tahrir Square in defense of the protesters stationed there against attacks launched by pro-Iranian regime groups such as the Badr, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, Katayeb Hezbollah and Khorasani. Thousands of Iraqis responded to the Committee’s request, sprinting to the symbolic capital square in a show of solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators and indicating once again they are not willing to back down from their just demands. Even elderly mothers were seen coming from afar to lend their support to the Iraqi demonstrators.

Iraqi youths regained control of the Sinak parking lot on Saturday morning and put up images of the Iraqi revolution martyrs. The Iraqis have been specifically protesting Iran’s meddling in their country for  two months now. In response, the mullahs’ regime have ordered their proxy militias in Iraq to launch massacres against the peaceful Iraqi demonstrators.

The UAE-based National also reported that pro-Iranian regime militias raided the main site of Iraqi demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square to install a climate of fear among the peaceful demonstrators.

Al Arabiya reports armed individuals in Baghdad’s Wathba Square opened fire on demonstrators from inside their vehicles, murdering 16 people as a result. These armed men were associated to the Asaeb militia group, the report adds.

It was the most violent flare-up in the capital in recent weeks, and came a week after Iraqi pime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he would resign following two months of anti-government protests. Security sources said to Al Arabiya they could not identify the gunmen who attacked protesters.

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on three Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders accused by Washington of directing the killing of Iraqi protesters. A senior US Treasury official suggested the sanctions were timed to distance those figures from any role in forming a new government.

Senior Iranian regime officials, including Revolutionary Guards Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, initially stepped in to prevent Abdul Mahdi’s resignation in October, Reuters reported. Soleimani was reported to be in Baghdad this week.

A senior State Department official lambasted Soleimani’s involvement in establishing the next Iraqi government. “Seems to us that foreign terrorist leaders, military leaders, should not be meeting with Iraqi political leaders to determine the next premier of Iraq,” David Schenker, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at State Department, told a briefing.