Three Katyusha rockets landed in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Wednesday while Iraq’s parliament voted to reject the resignation of speaker Mohammed Halbousi, Iraq’s military said.
Seven security personnel were wounded in the attack, which took place amid a partial lockdown in the capital as parliament was convening. Security forces blocked bridges to the central Green Zone and imposed a curfew on buses, motorcycles and trucks.
Despite the tight restrictions, dozens of supporters of the powerful Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which lies outside the Green Zone, to protest against the parliamentary session.
A Reuters cameraman said around a dozen were seen throwing stones at security forces.
Sadr emerged as the biggest winner from an election last October but ordered his parliamentarians to withdraw after failing to form a coalition government after months of political deadlock. The Sadrists have called for fresh elections.
Halbousi, who originally backed Sadr’s efforts, has broken with him, arguing that efforts should continue on forming a government with other factions.
The leader of a militia loyal to Sadr condemned Wednesday’s rocket attack. “We condemn and denounce the shelling of the Green Zone today and we stress the constitutional right to protest,” Peace Brigades commander Abu Mustafa al-Hamidawi said.