The American embassy in Baghdad has reportedly engaged inbound rocket attacks with its air defense system, the Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar, C-RAM which protects aerial threats against the Green Zone.
Some reports suggest the streets have finally grown calmer in the early morning hours (local time), but this is after an evening and overnight death toll of at least 15, including unconfirmed reports of police casualties. AFP citing local medical sources also says some 350 protesters were injured.
C-RAM activated in Baghdad, #Iraq. pic.twitter.com/4E80wW1bf8
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) August 30, 2022
Currently the Kuwaiti embassy in Iraq is urging all of its citizens to leave the country, and its likely that more regional and gulf states will follow, especially if violence spreads to other provinces.
Media outlets close to the Sadr Movement are using the word “terrorist” when referring to Iran-backed armed groups.
Earlier the Sadr supporters torched the Iran-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq’s headquarters in Baghdad. pic.twitter.com/2KzUjnX8ZM
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) August 29, 2022
The situation into the overnight hours (local time) Baghdad continued to spiral, with one well-known regional Mideast correspondent describing a “full implosion” – despite security forces attempting to enforce a strict curfew meant to clear the streets.
The Republican Palace, which is where Iraq’s gridlocked parliament meets (though which has now been suspended by acting prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi), was occupied by armed protesters earlier in the evening.
CNN reports of the latest, “At least five people have been killed and more than 40 have been injured in violent clashes that erupted in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Monday, following an announcement by powerful Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he was withdrawing from political life, medical sources told CNN.”
Earlier, though unconfirmed reports, said at least eight had died amid clashes with police. These numbers were quickly updated and the death toll is expected to go higher into the night: At least 12 protestors killed (AFP), 2 security members killed (Arabiya).
“State trying to impose a curfew but situation is out of hand. Protestors aggravated by status quo, militias roaming Baghdad, Gov MIA… Long night for Iraq,” Joyce Karam summarizes.
Disaster unfolding in Baghdad #Iraq tonight. Video shows live ammunition, heavy gunfire, rockets fired over Green Zone where protestors are being pushed away. Full implosion: pic.twitter.com/X5sVfgB4f0
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) August 29, 2022