Iranian Consulate Torched; 37 Killed in Iraq

Violence on Friday in Basra left two dead and 39 wounded. Parliament is expected to hold an emergency session on Saturday to discuss the situation, and the security council reportedly met on Friday.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani blamed the government for the disorder and called for a new government with higher standards to be formed. Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Friday that the government must send more money to Basra.

Much of the ire has been directed toward militias, institutions perceived to be under the influence of Iran, and Iran itself, which they accused of being behind government corruption. Protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Basra, then set it on fire. The building was empty of workers when attacked. Before security forces shot at the protesters to drive them out, they were filmed destroying items inside the building. Video of rioters raising the Iraqi flag over the consulate has been shared on social media. The border crossing between Basra and Iran was sealed shortly afterwards. Attempts to also penetrate the United States consulate were quashed.

The protesters also gathered at the headquarters of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia and were able to set it ablaze before heavy gunfire drove them away. This militia was allegedly funded by Iran. It’s leader, Qais al-Khaz’ali, threatened to retaliate against the demonstrators. There are also reports of attacks on wounded Shi’ite militiamen in hospitals. Many see the militias as Iranian-controlled.

Elsewhere in the province, demonstrators entered a water injection station at the West Qurna oil field, took two people hostage, and left peacefully after about an hour.

Protests also took place in Baghdad and Karbala.

At least 37 people were killed, and 50 were wounded in recent violence:

In Basra, two were killed and 39 were wounded.

Seven bodies were recovered in Mosul.

One person was killed and two were wounded during an attack on Chalabi.

In Baghdad, a bomb wounded three people.

A bomb in Taji wounded two people.

Twenty militants were killed in Husseiniyah.

And operation in Telol al-Baj left seven militants dead and four wounded.

A number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) members were killed in Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.