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Iraqi Inquiry Says 157 People Killed In Anti-Government Protests

Anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad on October 5.

A total of 157 people were killed in recent anti-government protests in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, an official investigation has found.

The findings published on October 22 by the committee tasked with investigating the violence said that 149 civilians and eight members of the security forces were killed in the mass protests, with the capital accounting for 111 of the dead.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Iraqi cities during the week starting October 1 to protest high unemployment, poor public services, and widespread corruption in the country's worst violence since an Islamic State (IS) insurgency was largely defeated in 2017.

The inquiry found that around 70 percent of the deaths were caused by bullet wounds "to the head or chest."

There was also evidence of sniper fire targeting protesters from atop a building in central Baghdad, it said.

In its report, the investigative panel recommended that the Baghdad operations commander in charge of the response to the unrest and dozens of other senior security officials be dismissed.

"Officers and commanders lost control over their forces during the protests [and this] caused chaos," it said, as Iraq braces for new anti-government protests planned on October 25.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP