Iraqi officials say 27 protesters have been shot dead in the last 24 hours, amid spiraling violence in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
Security and medical officials say 23 protesters were killed Thursday by security forces who used live fire to break a sit-in on the main entrance to the southern city of Nassiriya. Following days of road closures by demonstrators, security forces fired live rounds to disperse crowds and open the street, officials say.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Four protesters were shot by security forces in Baghdad when demonstrators tried to cross the strategic Ahrar bridge leading to the fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq's government, amid escalating violence.
Protesters are occupying two other bridges - Jumhuriya and Sinak - which also lead to the Green Zone.
Iraqi officials say four protesters were shot dead by security forces and 22 were wounded, amid ongoing clashes on a strategic Baghdad bridge.
Security and medical officials say security forces fired live rounds when protesters attempted to climb over barricades on Ahrar Bridge.
Protesters are occupying three key bridges - Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar - in a standoff with security forces. The bridges lead toward the fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq's government.
At least 350 people have died since Oct. 1, when thousands of protesters took to the streets to decry corruption and poor services.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations
Iran has condemned the burning of its consulate in southern Iraq by anti-government protesters hours earlier.
Iran's official IRNA news agency said Thursday that Abbas Mousavi, a foreign ministry spokesman, called for a "responsible, strong and effective" response from Iraq's government.
An Iraqi police official had said protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late Wednesday. Iranian staff were not harmed, escaping out the back door.
The police official said one protester was killed and 35 wounded when police fired live ammunition to prevent them from entering the building. Demonstrators removed the Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi one.
Anti-government protests have gripped Iraq for nearly two months. They accuse Iraq's Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and decry growing Iranian influence.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has praised Britain's chief rabbi and expressed support for an article he wrote this week that offered scathing criticism of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's record on anti-Semitism.
Rivlin met with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in London on Wednesday. His office says he expressed support for Mirvis' work, including his recent article in The Times newspaper in which he said "a new poison, sanctioned from the top, has taken root in the Labour Party."
Rivlin says there is "no room for anti-Semitism in the halls of power." He adds that Mirvis' "clear voice and leadership, particularly in the last few days, fills us all with pride."
Corbyn has struggled to defuse harsh criticism about anti-Semitism leveled at himself and the party before the Dec. 12 election.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has held a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss bilateral ties and cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts, Abdul Mahdi's office said Wednesday.
A statement by the office said that Abdul Mahdi confirmed his keenness on developing relations with Turkey and the importance of joint cooperation to achieve stability and counter-terrorism.
He also stressed his government's serious endeavor to achieve the reforms that the Iraqi people aspire to, the statement added.
"Abdul Mahdi explained to the Turkish president the current situation in Iraq, especially the demonstrations and the way to deal with them," the statement said.
Abdul Mahdi also pointed out the difference between the peaceful protesters and "groups of saboteurs who use violence, attacking security forces, threatening and intimidating citizens, schools, government institutions, and burning buildings," it added.
For his part, Erdogan expressed his support for the unity and stability of Iraq, and his readiness to develop bilateral relations in all fields, the statement said.
The Turkish president also praised the "wisdom and patience in the Iraqi government's approach to dealing with the demonstrations, and stressed the importance of imposing law and order as well as listening to the demands of the people of Iraq."
The phone call came as mass demonstrations continued in the capital Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.
Overnight confrontations between supporters and opponents of Lebanon's president — mostly fistfights and stone throwing — erupted in cities and towns across the country, injuring dozens of people, and 16 people were detained for their involvement, the Lebanese Red Cross and the army said Wednesday.
The nationwide uprising against the country's ruling elite has remained overwhelmingly peaceful since it began Oct. 17, but as the political deadlock for forming a new government drags on, tempers have risen. President Michel Aoun has yet to hold consultations with parliamentary blocs on choosing a new prime minister after the government resigned a month ago.
Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was Aoun's and the militant Hezbollah's favorite to lead a new Cabinet, withdrew his candidacy for the premiership, saying he hoped to clear the way for a solution to the political impasse after over 40 days of protests. Protesters have resorted to road closures and other tactics to pressure politicians into responding to their demands for a new government.
The prolonged deadlock is awakening sectarian and political rivalries, with scuffles breaking out in areas that were deadly front lines during the country's 1975-90 civil war.
The most recent violence first began Sunday night after supporters of the two main Shiite groups, Hezbollah and the Amal Movement of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, attacked protesters on Beirut's Ring Road. That thoroughfare had in the past connected predominantly Muslim neighborhoods in the city's west with Christian areas in the east.
Intense clashes took place Tuesday night between people in the Shiite suburb of Chiyah and the adjacent Christian area of Ein Rummaneh, where stones were hurled between supporters of Hezbollah and rival groups supporting the right-wing Christian Lebanese Forces. A shooting in Ein Rummaneh in April 1975 triggered the 15-year civil war that killed nearly 150,000 people.
Also on Tuesday night, supporters and opponents of Aoun engaged in fistfights and stone throwing in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest, injuring 24 people; seven were hospitalized.
In the mountain town of Bikfaya, 10 people were injured, including five who were hospitalized, after scuffles and stone throwing between Aoun's supporters and supporters of the right-wing Christian Lebanese Phalange Party, according to the Red Cross. The violence broke out after a convoy of dozens of vehicles carrying Aoun supporters drove into the town, which has been historically a Phalange stronghold.
"What happened yesterday was a mobile strife that intentionally tried to provoke our people," said Phalange leader and legislator Samy Gemayel. "We warn our people that there are attempts to attack their revolution, which should remain peaceful."
Hezbollah and Amal supporters also attacked protesters in the northeastern city of Baalbek and the southern port city of Tyre.
Police and troops deployed in the areas of the clashes and got the situation under control hours after the violence broke out.
The Lebanese army said in a statement that 16 people involved in the violence were detained, adding that 33 troops were injured in Tripoli after soldiers were hit with stones and molotov cocktails. It added that 10 other soldiers were injured as they separated crowds in Chiyah and Ein Rummaneh, while eight were injured in Bikfaya.
"Army units returned conditions to normal in all areas and the detainees are being questioned," the army said.
Hariri had resigned on Oct. 29 in response to the mass protests ignited by new taxes and a severe financial crisis. His resignation met a key demand of the protesters but plunged the country into uncertainty, with no clear path to resolving its economic and political problems.
Hariri had insisted on heading a government of technocrats, while his opponents, including Hezbollah, want a Cabinet made up of both experts and politicians.
For weeks, the Lebanese security forces have taken pains to protect anti-government protesters, in stark contrast to Iraq, where police have killed more than 340 people over the past month in a bloody response to similar protests.
Iraqi officials say six protesters have been killed amid ongoing violence with security forces firing live rounds and tear gas in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
Security and hospital officials say two protesters were killed Wednesday when security forces fired live rounds to disperse them from Baghdad's historic Rasheed Street.
Officials said one protester also died in Karbala on Wednesday afternoon, raising the death toll in clashes in the province to four in the past 24 hours.
The officials requested anonymity in line with regulations.
Protesters also burned tires near Ahrar bridge, blocking security forces from accessing it. Demonstrators are occupying part of three strategic bridges - Ahrar, Jumhuriya and Sinak - in a standoff with security forces.
At least 350 protesters have died and thousands wounded in mass demonstrations since Oct. 1.
Iraqi officials say three anti-government protesters were killed and 35 wounded by security forces in southern Iraq amid ongoing violence.
Security and hospital officials said Wednesday that two of the protesters were killed the previous night. That's when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse crowds in the holy city of Karbala.
One protester died of wounds suffered when a tear gas canister struck him in clashes earlier Tuesday.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Protesters have also cut roads to block traffic from Karbala to the capital, Baghdad.
At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded since Iraq's protests started Oct. 1. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to decry government corruption, poor services and subpar jobs.