Death toll climbs to at least 27 in Iraq on day-3 of protests- police, medics

UNTV News   •   October 4, 2019   •   445

Iraqis protest in east Baghdad, Iraq, 03 October 2019. According to local media reports at least 27 people have died since protests erupted two days earlier. Despite an unlimited curfew that was declared in Baghdad on 03 October from 5 am, the protesters went out again and shouted slogans against the government demanding better services and jobs. EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF

 Iraqi security forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who defied a curfew in Baghdad on Thursday (October 3) and exchanged fire with gunmen in a southern city, killing two people on the third day of nationwide anti-government protests.

The protests, in which at least 27 have now been killed and over 600 wounded, began over unemployment and poor services but have escalated into calls for a change of government and pose one of the worst security challenges in years.

They appear to be independent of any political party and seemingly took the security forces by surprise.

At least 4,000 protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and attempted to march onto the central Tahrir Square only to be met with open fire and heavy tear gas.

Police used live ammunition in the Zaafaraniya district of Baghdad, where a protester was shot dead, and there were protests in the northwestern Shula district.

Police said protesters had fired at them in the town of Rifaen near the southern city of Nassiriya where seven people were killed overnight and one more was killed on Thursday.

Fifty people were wounded in Rifae, including five police, they said. (REUTERS)

(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mostafa Salem)

Iraq seeks new rules in sharing future OPEC+ cuts

UNTV News   •   June 8, 2020

Iraq affirmed its commitment to the OPEC+ oil production cut deal but asked the group to take into consideration the members’ economic situation in sharing the burden of future cuts, Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi said on Sunday (June 7).

“We are seeking to set new rules in future over sharing burden among state members by considering the economic situation and living standards,” said Allawi.

OPEC, Russia and allies agreed on Saturday (June 6) to extend record oil production cuts by one month until the end of July, after the group held a video conference.

The group, known as OPEC+, also demanded countries such as Nigeria and Iraq, which exceeded production quotas in May and June, compensate with extra cuts in July to September. (Reuters)

(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mohammed Katfan, Charlotte Bruneau)

Public cafes closed amid coronavirus fears in Iraq

UNTV News   •   March 3, 2020

Cafes and other public places were closed in Erbil, Iraq on Monday (March 2) amid fears of the coronavirus. Also, people coming into the northern city from other parts of Iraq had their temperature taken as a precaution.

The Health Ministry had earlier issued a warning urging all Iraqis to avoid any public gatherings, including protests, religious ceremonies and social events. Many of the cafes, restaurants and shops in Erbil remained closed. And only a handful of customers visited the businesses that were open.

The Health Ministry reported two new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total of recorded cases inside Iraq to 21.

Iraq’s first case was an Iranian student who has since been sent back to Iran. The other 20 are all Iraqis who had recently visited Iran. (Reuters Connect)

(Production: Kawa Omar, Maher Nazeh, Mohammed Katfan, Angela Moore)

US soldiers injured in Iran’s attack on Iraqi military bases

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020

US soldiers stand next to the damage caused by Iran’s missile attack inside Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province, Iraq, 14 January 2020. EPA-EFE FILE/STR

Washington, DC — Eleven United States soldiers were injured in the Jan. 8 Iranian bombing of a military base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a targeted strike, the US Central Command said in a statement Thursday.

Initially, the Pentagon had said that the attack had not caused any injuries but now, after re-evaluating the victims, it has identified some symptoms of possible concussions due to the force of the impact of the missiles.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Centcom spokesperson Bill Urban said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” in the days following the attack, eight soldiers were transported from the Al Asad air base in western Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, while three others were sent to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait for follow-on screening, the official said.

“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” he added.

After the attack on the air base, Iran warned that it was only the beginning of a series of retaliatory actions it would take to avenge the death of Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force and a highly respected figure in the Persian county, in a US targeted strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

At the time, US President Donald Trump chose not to respond to the Iranian offensive with military force and said in a speech to the nation that he would impose more sanctions against Iran.

Those sanctions were directed against eight senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, as well as against the country’s steel, iron, aluminum and copper industry.

“The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strikes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said in a statement outlining the sanctions.

“We are also designating Iran’s largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining,” he added.

Tehran and Washington, which have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced multiple crises since Trump ordered the US’ exit from a landmark multilateral agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2018.

The current escalation of tension coincides with the downing of a Ukrainian aircraft by the Islamic Republic, which caused the death of all 176 people aboard. EFE-EPA

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