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Iraq PM orders army to leave Anbar after deadly clashes

31 December 2013 17:06

342982_Iraqi-PMIraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered the army to leave the province of Anbar after clashes between security forces and gunmen claimed lives on both sides.

In a Tuesday statement, Maliki said the armed forces will turn over the control of the cities in the province to “the local and federal police.”

Maliki’s order is aimed to defuse tensions sparked by the closure of an anti-government protest camp in Anbar’s Ramadi city.

Earlier in the day, Iraqi security officials said three gunmen and an Iraqi soldier were killed, while three other gunmen were wounded in the skirmishes which erupted in the city.

Tuesday casualties came a day after a total of 13 people, including three policemen, were killed in clashes in Ramadi on Monday.

Following clashes on Monday, forty-four members of the Iraqi parliament announced their resignation after security forces dismantled the protest camp located west of the capital, Baghdad.

The lawmakers’ resignation was announced at a televised news conference during which they called for “the withdrawal of the army.”

Iraq has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since December 2012, when the bodyguards of then Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges.

The United Nations says at least 8,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq so far this year.

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