MEHR: According to the latest reports, 30 people have been killed and 700 others have been injured after clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and followers of Muqtada Sadr in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
On Monday, hundreds of supporters of Iraqi politician Muqtada al-Sadr, who announced his decision to quit politics, broke into Baghdad’s Green Zone where government buildings and foreign embassies are located, surrounded the Republican Palace and entered the building.
Despite the nationwide curfew, clashes continue in the capital and a number of regions of Iraq.
Death toll of clashes between protesters, security forces in Baghdad reaches 30
According to the latest reports, 30 people have been killed and 700 others have been injured after clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and followers of Muqtada Sadr in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Air raid sirens went off in the US embassy located in the "Green Zone" of Baghdad, Shafaq News reported Tuesday.
According to the report, explosions are heard in the "Green Zone". Meanwhile, Al Arabiya reports that rockets were fired at the "Green Zone."
A security source told Al Arabiya that multiple launch rocket systems were fired at the "Green Zone," causing the embassy sirens to go off.
No further details are currently available. There were no reports of killed or injured in the strike.
Turkey issues travel alert, calls for dialogue
Turkey has urged its citizens to avoid traveling to Baghdad and called for “inclusive dialogue” to resolve the ongoing crisis.
“Turkey is concerned about the developments in brotherly Iraq,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. “We hope that current political conflicts will be resolved peacefully and through inclusive dialogue, and the peace and well-being of the Iraqi people will be ensured,” it added.
The European Union has expressed concern about the clashes in Baghdad and called on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and to remain calm, Al Jazeera reported.
“It is critical for all actors to avoid any actions that could lead to further violence,” the EU said in a statement.
“We reiterate that all laws must be respected and integrity of the institutions safeguarded. All parties should work towards de-escalating tensions and engage in political dialogue within the constitutional framework, as the only means to resolve differences,” it added.
Government offices shut down
Iraq’s cabinet has shut down government offices due to the ongoing curfew, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi “directed that official working hours are off” on Tuesday, the agency said, citing a statement from the cabinet.
Kuwait urges citizens to leave Iraq
The Kuwaiti embassy in Iraq is urging its citizens to leave the country.
The Reuters news agency, citing Kuwait’s state news agency (KUNA), says the embassy has also asked those wishing to travel to Iraq to postpone their plans.
Iran on Monday closed its border with Iraq amid political unrest in this neighboring country.
Majid Mirahmadi, deputy Iranian interior minister for security affairs made the announcement on Monday. He said that the border will remain closed until further notice and Iranian pilgrims cannot use border areas to visit Iraq.
Authorities in Ilam Province, which is located in western Iran and shares a border with Iraq, have also demanded the Iranians, who have come to the province to go to Iraq, cancel their trip through the Mehran border area.
Meanwhile, Imam Khomeini International Airport, located near the capital Tehran, issued a statement saying that some airlines have canceled flights to the Iraqi capital Baghdad due to the situation there.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Embassy in Baghdad has asked the Iranian individuals currently in Iraq to avoid traveling to the capital, as well as the cities of Kadhimiya and Samarra.
At least seven shells fell in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, a security source has said according to the AFP news agency.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, could not provide a full assessment of the situation. It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling, which was followed by the sound of automatic weapons being fired through the Green Zone.
Iraq deploys army units in Baghdad to reinforce security amid protest
Iraq has deployed army units on the streets of Baghdad to reinforce security as riots by supporters of Muqtada Sadr continue, media reported on Monday.
The army arrived to reinforce the security forces present in the city, the Al Arabiya broadcaster reported.
At the same time, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi issued a decree banning security forces from opening fire at demonstrators.