In Iraq, at least 30 people are dead and hundreds more injured, after fighting intensified in the capital Baghdad between supporters and opponents of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The violence came after al-Sadr’s announcement Monday that he’s quitting politics. Gunshots and rocket fire erupted overnight as Iraqi security forces, Iran-backed militias and supporters of al-Sadr clashed in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone — an area that houses Iraq’s parliament and foreign embassies.
Kadhem: “Before, we were committed to the orders of Muqtada al-Sadr. Now he took his hand away from us. He withdrew from politics. He is letting the people take the lead in their own revolution. … We are not going back. We will die here. We are ready to die. We have nothing to lose.”
The formation of a new Iraqi government has been paralyzed since parliamentary elections in October, where al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement won the most seats but failed to win an outright majority. Al-Sadr’s supporters had occupied the Iraqi parliament since late July in an effort to block lawmakers from choosing a new prime minister.