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Powerful Iraqi cleric orders supporters to leave Green Zone

Muqtada al-Sadr threatened to disavow his people unless they withdrew, after deadly clashes

An influential Iraqi politician, whose supporters were engaged in deadly clashes with his political opponents this week, ordered his activists to leave Baghdad’s Green Zone on Tuesday.

During a media conference in Najaf, his power base in central Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr threatened to disown members of his Sadrist movement unless they vacate the parliament building and move away from the government area within an hour. Many of the demonstrators reportedly heeded his call immediately.

The politician expressed regret over the violence, offering his apologies to the Iraqi people for their suffering.

Minutes after al-Sadr’s call, the Iraqi military lifted a nationwide curfew, which was imposed in response to a surge of violence that engulfed Baghdad’s government area on Monday. 

READ MORE: Powerful cleric announces hunger strike as fighting escalates in Iraq

Tensions escalated in the Iraqi capital after al-Sadr announced his decision to distance himself from political life amid a constitutional crisis in the country. His supporters responded by flocking to the city center. There they clashed with people backing his rivals from Shiite militias and the Iraqi security forces. Over 20 people were reportedly killed in the fighting and hundreds of others were injured.

The politician’s movement won the largest number of seats in parliament during the election in October last year, but was unable to form a ruling coalition. His faction argues that the parliament should be disbanded after failing to appoint a president in due time.

https://ift.tt/GQvyU1t 30, 2022 at 05:20PM
from RT – Daily news

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