Baghdad – While Sadr is in Iran for seclusion, a number of his followers attacked offices of certain political parties in south Iraq. The attackiers torched the offices including the photos of Khomeini and Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Council member of one of the southern districts told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the attacks also targeted offices of factions and parties affiliated with Iran. The council member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said protesters also burned the photos of political leaders and religious authorities including the leaders of the Islamic republic.
Consequently, a number of parties and forces in Amarah district gave the Sadrist movement 24 hours to denounce the members that burned down their offices.
Of the parties protesting: Badr Organization, Dawa Party Head Office, al-Jihad wa Binaa Movement, Islamic Supreme Council, Dawa Party, League of Righteous, Khorasani Brigades, Imam’s Soldiers’ Battalions, Imam Ali Brigades, and Abu Fadhal al-Abbas Brigades.
Meanwhile, Sadrist Movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called for excluding Najaf from protests after a wave of office attacks of several Shi’ite parties in the country’s south and center. When asked by his followers, Sadr said in a statement issued Friday: “Yes exclude Najaf from protests for its sanctity. Who wants to protest shall go to Baghdad.”
He added that protests against corrupt parties should be peaceful whether in Najaf or any other district.
Earlier, Sadr called for postponing protests demanding reform during the month of Ramadan. He considered protests a kind of prayer and devotion.
Following a series of attacks on political parties, fears have risen of inter-Shi’ite clashes in the country’s central and southern districts. Security forces blocked all roads and bridges leading to the Liberation Square in central Baghdad where protests have been ongoing for over a year.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi warned of the “reckless” behavior that targets public facilities or any political office.
Abadi urged in his statement political leaders to reject such heinous acts and called on patriotic demonstrators to distance themselves from such acts of extremism.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced it had taken all required measures to protect state institutions.
MoI pledged in a statement to protect all public and private institutions, headquarters of political parties, and other organizations.
The statement added that the ISIS strategy is to keep security forces occupied to alleviate the pressure from Fallujah and whoever wants reform should resort to peaceful protests.
Commander of Civil Democratic Alliance Jasem Halfi said that the weekly protests in Baghdad are done in coordination with many parties including the Sadrist Movement. He added that the protests are peaceful and aim to achieve reform.
Halfi confirmed they will carry on with the peaceful protests unified under Iraqi flag.
Friday prayer Imam of Najaf Sadr Din Qabbanji warned of a Shi’ite-Shi’ite conflict after a series of offices in several districts have been torched. He added that the government is responsible of protecting the public institutions, while denouncing the anonymous groups that attacked the public institutions. Qabbanji said: “While we are preparing to liberate Fallujah, some are trying to create a Shiite – Shiite strife.
Qabbanji explained that religious leaders are with protests but attacking offices is not acceptable.