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Three killed in Iraq’s Nasiriyah, sending protest toll over 400: Sources

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Iraqi Security forces shot dead at least three protesters in the southern city of Nasiriyah, bringing the death toll from weeks of violence to more than 400 people, mostly young, unarmed demonstrators, a Reuters count based on police and medical sources showed.

Several people died of wounds sustained in clashes on Thursday with security forces in the southern city of Nasiriyah, hospital sources said, bringing the number of people killed there to at least 46 and the total nationwide to more than 400 since October 1.

Protests continued in Iraq on Friday after the judiciary opened an investigation into protests in the restive southern province of Dhi Qar, of which Nasiriyah is the capital.

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric on Friday condemned the use of lethal force against protesters and urged demonstrators to reject acts of violence and vandalism, warning against another spiral of violence as demonstrations continued across the country.

“Attacks against peaceful protesters are forbidden,” a representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said, addressing worshippers at Friday prayer in Karbala.