Security and medical sources say that 65 people have been killed since the start of violence on Tuesday. While that figure is believable, they also placed the number of wounded at only 192, which is far below other estimates. The United Nations has tallied at least 1,329 wounded. Iraq’s Human Rights Commission counted at least 1,580 wounded. Curfews and reduced Internet access make independent confirmation of the figures impossible.
The Iraqi government also announced various measures to resolve some of the demonstrators’ issues, while promising an investigation into protest-related violence. However, many protesters no longer believe in any government pledges. One promise, the sacking of 1,000 allegedly corrupt officials, appears to have been kept. It is unclear why that objective was not met earlier.
Meanwhile, Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on the Iraqi government to resign, blaming corruption for discontent. He wants new elections held under international supervision. He also asked his followers and security forces to refrain from violence. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also blamed the government and called on followers to end the violence.
In Iran, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani blamed the United States and Israel for the violence, claiming the two countries are trying to disrupt the upcoming Arba’een observances, which attracts tens of millions of pilgrims to Iraq. However, many protesters appear to include Iranian interference in Iraq and Iranian-backed militiamen in their lists of grievances. There are even claims that the snipers in Baghdad are Iranian.
At least 33 people were killed in the latest violence:
In Baghdad, 17 people were killed. The government reported that two of them were security personnel. About 1,000 people had gathered near Tahrir Square after prayers, and security forces shot at those trying to reach the square; there are reports that the snipers may have been Iranian. One demonstrator was shot in the leg by police while being interviewed by reporters.
Three people were shot dead who were trying to storm a government building in Diwaniya.
In Baquba, four people have been killed so far.
Four people were killed in Amara.
In other violence:
Five Syrian refugees were beaten to death in Pirrash.