Middle East

Gunmen shoot dead 5 protesters in southern Iraqi city

BAGHDAD (AP) — Masked men attacked anti-government protesters in Iraq’s southern city of Basra overnight, killing five and wounding scores, Iraqi state TV and medical officials said Friday.

The shooting in Basra occurred around midnight Thursday and wounded around 120 people, according to medical officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets since last month in the capital and across the largely Shiite south to demand sweeping political change.

In Baghdad on Friday, Iraqi state television said that explosive experts detonated a bomb under a bridge that has been a daily flashpoint between security forces and protesters trying to force their way into the heavily fortified Green Zone, which hosts the government’s headquarters.

The report gave no further details about the controlled detonation under Sinak bridge over the Tigris River that cuts through the capital city.

Also Friday, protester Amir Shami said security forces tore down tents at an protest sit-in in the holy city of Karbala.

More than 250 people have been killed since the unrest erupted Oct. 1.

Demonstrators complain of widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, including regular power cuts despite Iraq’s vast oil reserves.


Photo: Iraqi riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters during ongoing protests in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Iraqi security and medical officials say the country’s main port closed again after brief resumption of services. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

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