09/01/2022, 17.22
IRAQ
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Four die in Basra in clashes between Sadrists and pro-Iranian group

Violence between rival Shia factions spreads from the capital to the country’s main oil-producing region, in the south. In Baghdad, a rocket hits a mosque east of Baghdad, causing material damage but not casualties.

 

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – After yesterday’s relative calm, violence flared up again today with its toll of victims. This comes after almost a year of political deadlock, which appears to be gradually pushing the country towards civil war.

The latest incident was reported in Basra, in the south, with rival Shia groups facing off. Law enforcement sources reported four deaths and various wounded.

Yesterday several political and religious figures appealed for calm, calling for early elections to put an end to the political stalemate that has lasted since last October, preventing the election of a new president and the formation of a new government with full powers.

The stalemate has increased social instability and aggravated the government’s already limited capacity to deliver services, this in a country that has faced wars, sanctions, uprisings, ethnic-religious sectarianism, and endemic corruption for two decades.

The latest wave of violence was triggered by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s decision to quit political life. Traditionally opposed to pro-Iranian groups, he called on his sympathisers and supporters to pull back to stop the further shedding of “Iraqi blood”.

However, in Basra, capital of Iraq’s main oi-producing region, two members of  al-Sadr's Peace Brigades militia people were killed in clashes with Asa'ib Ahl al Haqq, a pro-Iranian paramilitary group.

Tensions rose again today after a rocket was fired at dawn in the direction of the Amir Ali bin Abi Talib mosque, in the Nahrawan district, east of Baghdad, resulting in material damage but no casualties, this according to the Shafaq News Agency, citing a security source.

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