Iraqi PM fires Green Zone commander after breach
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has dismissed the commander of special forces in Baghdad’s Green Zone after hundreds of anti-government protesters stormed the highly-fortified area.
A statement from Iraq’s Joint Operations Command late on Wednesday said Abadi issued an order for the removal of Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed Ridha and his replacement with Major General Karim Aboud al-Tamimi.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters broke into the restricted Green Zone, which houses Iraq’s key government institutions as well as various embassies and forced their way into the parliament building.
The protesters sought government reforms amid allegations of corruption and nepotism.
The supporters of prominent Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen after breaking into Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, April 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Many of the demonstrators were supporters of the prominent cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The protesters left the parliament building late on Saturday. They withdrew from the Green Zone peacefully later on Sunday.
They, however, vowed to return by the end of the week to go ahead with their demands for political reforms.
Demonstrators are expected to stage protest rallies on Friday; and the appointment of a new security chief for the area may indicate that security forces will would take tough action against them if they attempt to re-enter the Green Zone.
Iraq has been the scene of a political turmoil in the past weeks over Abadi’s efforts to form a new cabinet.