Death Toll Up from Anti-government Rioting in Iraq
At least 27 and as many as 44 people were reported to have been killed in Iraqi rioting as the street unrest over economic conditions and accusations of government corruption was well into its third day. Police reportedly opened fire with live ammunition again on Friday, targeting protesters in the capital Baghdad. The unrest has been taking place there and in other cities, leading to a declaration by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi promising improvements, though without being specific. Much of the population is said to be placing the blame for at least part of the situation on neighboring Iran, which is seen as wielding major influence inside Iraq, which, like the Islamic Republic, is mostly Shi’ite. Tehran is said to be issuing orders to numerous Shi’ite militias despite Baghdad’s insistence that they be integrated into the ranks of the regular Iraqi military.