Iraq government denies use of live fire against Green Zone protesters

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Monday, 23 May 2016

The Iraqi government has denied accusations of having used live ammunition against the protesters who recently broke into Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.

Two protesters died and dozens more were wounded on Friday after protesters broke into the high-security area, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said on Sunday that an initial investigation showed there had been only two deaths from the incident, and no direct gunfire.

“There is no evidence that the two deaths were caused by direct gunfire on the protesters,” he said.

Hadithi suggested the demonstrations had been infiltrated by armed elements and said three protesters had been detained for interrogation but later released.

This is while sources from four hospitals and Baghdad’s central morgue said four protesters had been killed and 90 injured by gunshot wounds in the zone.

Thousands of protesters apparently frustrated with the government’s failure to push anti-corruption reforms broke into the Green Zone for the second time in three weeks, challenging the government’s competence.

The security forces used rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Live bullets were also reported to have been fired into the air.

Abadi has condemned the storming of the zone, which also included a raid on his office building, and warned against chaos and strife as government forces seek to keep up momentum in the fight against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group inside the country.

Also on Sunday, Iraq’s military announced that it was preparing to launch an offensive to retake the city of Fallujah, which has been under the control of Daesh, and advised the city’s residents to evacuate.

Fallujah was the first city overrun by Daesh terrorists in Iraq in January 2014, six months before the Takfiri group took control of more areas inside Iraq.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted their offensive in June 2014.

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