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Iraqi premier demands unity amid calls for demonstrations

13 July 2016 14:21

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for unity among all Iraqi factions to preserve military gains on the ground against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

Abadi’s office, in a statement released on Tuesday, announced that the Iraqi army’s achievements, among them the takeover of the strategic western city of Fallujah, must be praised and political parties should rather focus on the campaign against Daesh extremists instead of holding anti-government protests.

He added that the Baghdad government is resolute to fulfill its pledge to enact anti-corruption reforms, stressing that public demands cannot be met through “chaos and vandalism.”

The statement came as prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for nationwide protests next Friday over the deteriorating security situation and rampant corruption in the country.

In late April, hundreds of outraged protesters broke into the restricted Green Zone of the capital, Baghdad, to demand government reforms amid allegations of corruption.

The protests broke out after lawmakers failed to approve new ministers proposed earlier by the Iraqi prime minister in a number of consecutive parliamentary sessions.


Iraqis chant slogans and wave the national flag during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in the capital, Baghdad, April 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

 

Security has also been scarce in Iraq, particularly in the capital, Baghdad, where bomb attacks have become a routine.

On Wednesday, a car bomb attack killed at least seven people and injured 11 others at an area to the north of the Iraqi capital. An attack on the same area had killed 25 people a day earlier.

In a deadly attack on July 3, nearly 300 people lost their lives after a bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at a shopping district in the Iraqi capital’s Karrada neighborhood. Daesh claimed responsibility for that assault.

The fresh wave of violence in Baghdad prompted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to sack a number of high-ranking officials responsible for security in the capital, including the head of the Baghdad Operations Command.

The crisis in Iraq’s political scene comes at a critical juncture as government forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization units, are fighting to win back swathes of land that Daesh terrorists have overrun in the country.

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