Iraq parliament holds emergency talks as Basra burns, new security commander in town, temporary curfew lifted
[ARABNEWS] Iraqi politicians met Saturday in emergency session Saturday to discuss the crisis in public services in main southern city Basra after 12 protesters were killed, the Iranian consulate torched and the airport hit by rockets.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described the unrest as "political sabotage" as he joined the session with several ministers.
Basra has been rocked by protests since Tuesday, with demonstrators setting ablaze government buildings, the Iranian consulate and the offices of pro-Tehran militias and political parties.
The anger flared after the hospitalization of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water, in an oil-rich region where residents have for weeks complained of water and electricity shortages, corruption among officials and unemployment.
At least 12 demonstrators have been killed and 50 maimed in festivities with security forces, according to the interior ministry.
Iraqi officials announced Saturday a citywide curfew for Basra starting at 4pm local time, a military statement said.
7 killed, 50 injured during Basra protests Friday: Health Ministry
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Seven people were killed and 50 others injured during Basra protests on Friday, the Iraqi Health Ministry announced.
In statements to Alsumaria News TV channel on Saturday, Seif al-Badr, the ministry’s spokesman, said that “the injured included 48 civilians and two security men.”
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned that unrest in the southern province of Basra could turn into an armed conflict.
“We have to separate the political aspect from the security and service one, otherwise, the disagreement will develop into an armed conflict,” Abadi told an exceptional parliament session on Saturday.
Also, a security source noted that a security campaign will be launched soon in the governorate to arrest rioters involved in burning of building and state institutions.
Iraq replaces Basra security commander, airport under fire: official
Basra (IraqiNews.com) A security commander for southern Iraq’s Basra province has been replaced as violence rages amid popular protests decrying poor services.
Iraqi website Al-Mirbad quoted Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Iraq Security Media Center saying in a statement that Lit. Gen. Gamil al-Shamri was replaced by Rasheed Feleih as commander of Basra Operations.
Rasoul said in his statement that the replacement came after protests left severe damage to several facilities in the province.
Protests have recently caused the province’s government office and the Iranian consulate to catch fire.
Meanwhile, Rasoul revealed that four mortar missiles were fired on Basra Airport, but pointed that all of them fell near the airport’s outer fence.
Rasoul assured that aviation at the airport was not affected by the incident.
Health authorities were quoted saying that violence since yesterday have left three more protesters dead. Authorities earlier counted at least seven fatalities.
Iraq lifts citywide curfew in protest-hit Basra
Basra (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi authorities lifted on Saturday night a curfew in Iraq’s southern oil hub Basra seven hours after it was enforced there to quell escalating protests, an Iraqi security source told Sputnik.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that “the curfew was lifted at 11 pm (local time) after it came into effect at 4 pm.”
According to the source, “the decision to lift the curfew in Basra was taken following the heavy deployment of security forces in the governorate and improvement of the security situation there.”
Posted by: Fred 2018-09-09