Twelve demonstrators were killed Sunday October 6th in ongoing anti-government protests in the capital Baghdad, raising fatalities in week-long clashes to more than 100 dead and thousands wounded.
Iraqi government forces, having strived to contain the popular anger that has prevailed in Baghdad and a number of southern cities since Tuesday, responded with a crackdown on the rallies of protesters demanding jobs, better services, and an end to corruption in the country, according to AP.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Saad Maan, in the first official statement by the government, said on Sunday that 104 people had been killed in the six days of unrest, including eight policemen, and more than 6,000 wounded. He said an investigation had already begun to determine what he described as “malicious” hands behind the deadly violence on Friday.
The unrest is deemed the most serious challenge Iraq has faced in two years after its victory against the militant group Isis, according to NBC News.
The chaos comes at a critical time as Baghdad is caught in the middle of increasing US-Iran tensions in the region. Iraq is allied with both countries and hosts powerful paramilitary forces allied with Iran and thousands of US troops as well.