Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani met
with Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the U.N. mission chief in the country.
He welcomed proposed U.N. reforms and called on protesters to continue
gathering. He expressed concern that the government will not follow through on
reforms in a timely manner.
Although Iraq is keeping its casualty counts a secret, it is believed that at least 319 people have died since protests began at the start of October. More than 15,000 demonstrators have been wounded. An unknown number of people have disappeared into custody, and there are fears that additional arrests will follow. Adding to the mystery, internet access remains curtailed in Iraq. The Iraqi government has defended its handling of the demonstrations despite international condemnation.
At least 28 people were killed, and 173 were wounded in the latest violence and protests:
In Nasariya, four protesters were killed and 130 were wounded.
At least 34 people were wounded in Baghdad.
ISIS militants killed four soldiers and wounded nine more in Qara Tapa.
Near Mosul, 14 militants were killed in an operation.
Four militants were killed during airstrikes in the Hamrin basin.
South of Kirkuk, another two militants were killed.