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Iraq: Rockets fired at Green Zone as parliament convenes

Attack takes place as vast majority of MPs voted to reject the resignation of parliament speaker Halbousi
Iraqi supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clash with security forces in Tahrir Square in the centre of Iraq's capital Baghdad on 28 September 2022 (AFP)

Three katyusha rockets were fire at Iraq's Green Zone on Wednesday, wounding seven security force personnel, while parliament was in session, a statement by the security forces said.

"One rocket fell in front of the Iraqi parliament," the statement said, adding that one officer was among the wounded.

Iraq has endured months-long political paralysis that has metastasised into violence. The parliament on Wednesday met for the first since deadly unrest in August to vote on the resignation of its speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.

The vast majority of MPs, 222 out of 235, voted against Halbousi’s resignation, in what analysts had described a vote of confidence.

Iraq's deeply divided political factions have failed to form a new government since inconclusive elections in October 2021.

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Influential Shia Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner of the elections, however, he ordered his MPs to withdraw after failing to form a coalition government following months of stalemate. 

In late July, Halbousi suspended legislative sessions after Sadr ordered his followers to raid the parliament to block his rivals, the Iran-backed Coordination Framework, from forming a new government. The Sadrists have called for fresh elections.

Halbousi had initially backed Sadr's efforts but later broke with him, arguing that efforts should continue on forming a government with other factions.

On Tuesday night, Iraqi security forces sealed off the main roads and bridges leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses western embassies and government institutions, and imposed a curfew on buses, motorcycles and trucks.

Hundreds of Sadr followers demonstrated in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, which lies outside the Green Zone, against the parliamentary session.

Protesters clashed with security forces as they tried and failed to enter the Green Zone.

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