.
.
.
.

Five killed in clashes with cleric’s supporters in southern Iraq

Published: Updated:

Supporters of a firebrand Iraqi cleric shot dead five people on Saturday, according to medical officials, in overnight clashes with anti-government protesters in southern Iraq.

The anti-government demonstrators attempted to block the path of a rally supporting Shia Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr. Followers of the populist cleric also wounded 40 others in the clashes, according to two medical officials.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

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

The anti-government protesters were camped out at a main square in the city of Nasiriya, which has been an epicenter of the youth-led protest movement that has sought to sweep aside Iraq’s ruling sectarian elite.

Following the clashes beginning on Friday, al-Sadr’s supporters stormed Haboubi square, and torched tents pitched in the square.

Al-Sadr leads a powerful political bloc in Iraqi parliament and his supporters had called for a demonstration in support of the leader’s call for mass participation in next year’s nationwide elections.

Read more:

How ISIS leader al-Mawla rose rapidly through the ranks in Iraqi terrorist group

Shadowy new militias in Iraq targeting US forces as new front for Iran

Anti-government protests turn to clashes in Iraq

Anti-government protesters feel betrayed by al-Sadr’s flip-flop approach toward them, especially in the last few months when he withdrew support for their movement.

Dozens returned to the anti-government sit-in’s site on Saturday morning in support of those protesters killed overnight.