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Rockets hit Baghdad's Green Zone for second day amid political unrest

Supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clash with Iraqi security forces in Tahrir Square in the center of Iraq's capital Baghdad on September 28, 2022, during a parliament session in the nearby high-security Green Zone across the Tigris river. (Photo by AFP)

Four rockets fired from eastern Baghdad have landed in the capital’s fortified Green Zone amid intensified political unrest.

According to the police, there were no immediate reports of casualties from the strike hitting the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, which is home to government buildings and foreign missions.

There was no claim of responsibility, the report added.

In a similar attack on Wednesday, three Katyusha rockets landed in Green Zone while Iraq's parliament was holding its first session in two months and voted to reject the resignation of speaker Mohammed Halbousi.

Seven security personnel were wounded in the attack, which took place amid a partial lockdown as parliament was convening. Security forces blocked bridges to the central Green Zone and imposed a curfew on buses, motorcycles, and trucks.

Another rocket later fell near the Green Zone, where parliament and many government offices and foreign embassies are located, security sources said. There were no casualties.

Tensions have built up in Iraq amid a political crisis that has left the country without a new government for months.

On August 29, violence erupted as Iraqi supporters of prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the government palace inside the Green Zone after their leader announced his resignation from politics.

Sadr’s supporters withdrew the next day from Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone after he demanded an end to two days of unrest that left 30 dead and hundreds wounded.

Sadr’s bloc emerged from elections in October as the biggest parliamentary faction, but was still far short of a majority, causing the longest political vacuum in the country since the 2003 devastating invasion of the Arab country led by the United States.

In June, all 73 legislators of the bloc quit their seats in a move seen as an attempt to pressure political rivals into fast-tracking the formation of a government.

According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second-highest number of votes in their electoral district replaces them.

This means that many of the seats vacated by Sadrists will therefore be filled by member parties of the Coordination Framework Alliance, such as former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Fatah Alliance, which is the political wing of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known as Hashd al-Sha’bi.

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