Rockets fired at Iraq’s Green Zone as parliament sits

3. Iraq
Supporters of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr clash with Iraqi security forces in Tahrir Square Baghdad, Iraq, on September 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

BAGHDAD — Three rockets were fired Wednesday at Baghdad’s Green Zone, wounding seven security force personnel as parliament was holding its first session in two months, Iraq’s security forces said.اضافة اعلان

The parliament, at the center of a months-long political paralysis, met for the first since deadly unrest in August to vote on the resignation of its speaker.

“One rocket fell in front of the Iraqi parliament,” the government said in a statement, adding the number of casualties had risen to seven, after providing an initial toll of four wounded including one officer.

The rockets fell in different parts of Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which houses Western embassies and government offices.

Iraq’s deeply divided political factions have failed to form a new government since inconclusive elections in October 2021, and the last session of parliament dates back to July 23.

Later in July, supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr stormed the assembly and staged a month-long sit-in on its grounds.

Tensions boiled over into clashes on August 29 between the Sadrists, rival Iran-backed factions and the army in which more than 30 demonstrators were killed.

Iraqi media said 222 out of 235 members of parliament present at Wednesday’s session voted against the resignation of speaker Mohammed Al-Halbussi, in what analysts had described a vote of confidence.

Hundreds of Sadr’s followers demonstrated at a square in central Baghdad in protest at the parliament’s session.

The violence in August followed months of disagreements between Sadr and his rivals within Iraq’s majority Shiite camp, as the impasse has left the country without a new government, prime minister or president since the elections almost a year ago.

Iraq’s standoff pits Sadr against the Iran-backed Coordination Framework, which includes lawmakers from the party of his longtime foe, ex-prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki.

Sadr wants snap elections and the dissolution of parliament but the rival Shiite bloc wants a new head of government appointed before any new polls are held.

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