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Death toll increase to 26 in violent protests in Iraq

At least 26 people were killed and more than a thousand injured after protests turned violent in Iraq, according to authorities on Thursday.

Ali al-Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), said that the toll of violence that accompanied the protests during the three days in Baghdad and some provinces rose to 26, including two security personnel, Xinhua news agency reported.

He added that of the 1,509 injured, 401 were security members.

Police said that the protesters had fired at them in the town of Rifae near the southern city of Nassiriya where seven people were killed overnight and another on Thursday. Fifty people were wounded in Rifae, including five police, he added.

Four people were killed in clashes overnight in another southern city, Amara.

Amnesty International called on Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government to rein in the security forces and investigate the killings.

The demonstrations began in Baghdad on Tuesday and quickly grew and spread to other cities, mainly in Iraq’s south. Police have fired live rounds, tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Defence Minister Najah al-Shammari said in a statement that he has decided to raise the state of alert for the Iraqi armed forces “to preserve state sovereignty and protect all foreign embassies and diplomatic missions operating in Iraq”.

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