• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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20 die in fresh Iraq clashes as US officials leave Baghdad embassy via rooftop

20 die in fresh Iraq clashes as US officials leave Baghdad embassy via rooftop

Fresh fighting has erupted in the green zone area of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, between the personal militia of the nationalist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and allied Iranian forces, leaving at least 20 people dead.

The attack began after al-Sadr announced via a tweet that he would quit politics which prompted his followers to storm the presidential palace.

Series of machine-gun fire and explosions broke out, with enormous tracer fire that could be seen in the sky above the Green Zone that houses government headquarters and foreign embassies, in the worst fighting the Iraqi capital has seen in years, Reuters reported.

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Following the shootings, the US Embassy has been evacuated in Baghdad and also in Kabul. American embassy officials on Monday were seen being airlifted by helicopters via the embassy’s rooftops, reports said.

Moqtada al-Sadr later announced that he will embark on a hunger strike to protest against the use of weapons by all sides.

A political rift between Sadr and Shi’ite Muslim rivals who are mostly backed by Iran has sent Iraq spiralling into yet another round of violence as it struggles to recover from decades of war, sanctions, civil strife and endemic corruption.