Supporters of the cleric al-Sadr withdraw after the “night of unrest” in Iraq that left at least 30 dead

The influential spiritual leader Muqtada al-Sadr had called on his supporters in a televised speech to withdraw from the streets of Baghdad within an hour. His supporters appear to be heeding the call, which has made the atmosphere in the capital less tense after a turbulent night. “It was really a long, sleepless night in Baghdad,” Judit Norinck told Radio 1 in The Morning, who has lived as a reporter in the Iraqi capital for ten years.

She talks about intense fighting in the so-called “Green Zone”, the political center of power in Baghdad. There were even rocket launchers last night. “There are completely opposing militias. This has to do with the outcome of the October elections. The two main Shiite blocs are both failing to form a government.”

These two militias have now clashed with each other in recent days. The government says at least 30 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. Even the Dutch embassy had to be evacuated for some time. Neighboring Iran also temporarily closed its border with Iraq and suspended all air traffic into the country. Borders reopened after Sadr’s televised speech.

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Denton Watson

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