Iraqi officials: One protester killed amid ongoing clashes

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Iraqi officials said one anti-government protester has been killed by security forces on Tuesday and 21 others wounded amid ongoing clashes with security forces in Baghdad.

Security and hospital officials said the protester died when he was struck with a rubber bullet fired by security forces on Rasheed Street near the strategic Ahrar Bridge.

Baghdad Operations Command have denied the killing of the protester in the center of the capital.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Protesters are occupying part of three key bridges - Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinak - in a standoff with security forces.

At least 17 protesters have died in renewed clashes, which kicked off last Thursday. The historic Rasheed Street, known for its crumbling architecture, has been a flashpoint in the recent violent escalations.

Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets to repel protesters from scaling a barricade.
Over 350 people have died and thousands more wounded since Oct. 1.

Iraqi protesters have also blocked several roads and bridges in parts of Iraq’s southern city of Najaf on Tuesday, as well as roads leading to the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al-Zubair, Iraqi News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi authorities announced the suspension of official working hours in the Dhi Qar province on Tuesday for security reasons. Dhi Qar’s provincial capital is Nasiriyah which has been a hotbed of violence during the last week of protests.

A number of protesters were injured, and several cases of suffocation and injuries among security forces were reported, according to the Iraqi Civil Defense.

Dhi Qar province police said in a statement that 28 policemen were wounded at the Petronas gate near the Gharraf oil field north of the province on Monday. Protesters from Qalat Sukkar district, to the north of Gharraf, organized a protest near the road leading to the oil field.

In the southern province of Basra, Alarabiya sources reported that roads were still blocked on Tuesday for the third consecutive day. Iraqi protesters cut off all major roads leading to the center of the province.

In the Babil Governorate, a security source reported that a number of citizens suffered from suffocation due to the use of tear gas by Iraqi security forces.

In the central province of Karbala, more than nine demonstrators were reported injured in clashes between protesters and security forces. The clashes continued on Monday evening, after a number of protesters cut off roads and burned tyres.

Protesters clashed with security forces in the capital Baghdad on Tuesday.

A group of armed Iraqi protesters attempted to attack police forces, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

Earlier in the day, the Iraqi Civil Defense Directorate announced the injury of an officer and 10 policemen after being hit by Molotov cocktails in the Hafez al-Qadi and Rashid Street in central Baghdad.

The civil defense teams were attacked while trying to extinguish the fires, which broke out in the center of the Iraqi capital. Those injured were transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Khalid al-Muhanna announced on Tuesday the arrest of a group of “terrorists” who tried to burn some shops in the capital city of Baghdad, stressing the imminent issuance of judicial orders against them, the Iraqi News Agency reported.

"The central government stresses the need to provide protection and preservation of property and lives of citizens, and to prevent saboteurs who are trying to attack the citizens' funds and private and public buildings," Al-Mehna said in a statement to the Iraqi News Agency.

"The Ministry of Interior is making great efforts to secure peaceful demonstrations in Baghdad and the provinces despite some attempts by some groups to attack the police forces and launch armed attacks as well as the use of Molotov cocktails, gravel and stones."

The wave of protests in Iraq, which started in early October against the corruption of the political class, is the largest and bloodiest in the country in decades, with the use of tear gas, live bullets, rubber bullets and sound bombs.

Mass protests began in Baghdad and some southern Iraqi cities, demanding the overthrow of the regime and broad reforms, accusing the political class of corruption and failure to run the country.

- With AP

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