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World Iraqi officials raise Friday's toll to 25 protesters killed

13:25  07 december  2019
13:25  07 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

Anti-government protesters burn down Iranian consulate

  Anti-government protesters burn down Iranian consulate Security official says anti-government protesters have burned down the Iranian consulate in southern Iraq.

Iraqi security forces fired tear gas canisters into crowds, killing at least eight protesters , during demonstrations in Baghdad on October 25 , 2019. Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq , Friday , Oct.

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials raised on Saturday the death toll to 25 protesters killed and over 130 wounded, after a bloody night of attacks by unknown gunmen that targeted anti-government demonstrators in the capital city.

Anti-government protesters throw stones while security forces close Rasheed Street during clashes in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)© Provided by Associated Press Anti-government protesters throw stones while security forces close Rasheed Street during clashes in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

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

The attack on Friday was among the deadliest since Oct. 1, when thousands of Iraqis took to the streets calling for sweeping political reforms and the end of Iran's influence in Iraqi affairs. Security forces regularly use live rounds and tear gas to disperse the demonstrations, leading to heavy casualties.

Iraq condemns attack on Iran's consulate in southern Najaf: state media

  Iraq condemns attack on Iran's consulate in southern Najaf: state media Iraq condemns attack on Iran's consulate in southern Najaf: state mediaWednesday's attack was 'aimed at damaging the historical relations between Iraq and Iran and with rest of the countries', the ministry said in a statement.

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Security forces have fired teargas cartridges directly at protesters in Baghdad, Iraq on numerous The dead are among the large number of protesters Iraqi forces have killed since daily protests began “The high death toll includes people who took direct hits to the head from teargas cartridges

The gunfire continued until the early hours of Saturday morning. The assailants first unleashed the deadly assault on Baghdad's Khilani Square and Sinak Bridge, driving through the areas that are the epicenter of the popular uprising. Protesters said the electricity in the square was cut, creating chaos as they ran from the bullets and took cover in nearby mosques and streets.

The attack led to the burning of a car park that demonstrators had converted into a base for their sit-in, while surrounding buildings in the square were pockmarked with bullet holes. On Saturday, protesters raised a bloodied white flag as they sought to return to the scene.

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One protester was seen collecting the spent cartridges and held out at least a dozen.

Anti-government activists have sought to blame supporters of Iran-backed Iraqi militias, which have staged similar attacks against protester sit-ins in the capital and the country's southern cities.

A string of mysterious knife attacks against anti-government protesters also occurred on Thursday in the square, after supporters of the Iran-backed militias attempted their own rival demonstration before withdrawing.

Friday's deadly attacks came hours after Washington slapped sanctions on the head of Asaib al-Haq, a powerful Iran-backed militia accused of being behind deadly sniping attacks on protesters. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned leader Qais al-Khazali, his brother Laith al-Khazali, who is a commander in the group, and Husain Falih Aziz al-Lami.

Iraqi security forces were deployed to streets leading to the square by the early morning.

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Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed.

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