Baghdad, Iraq violence leaves at least 30 dead, cleric tells protesters to withdraw

At least 30 were confirmed dead in Iraq Tuesday as fighting continues in Baghdad following the resignation of a top Shiite leader Monday.

Gun fire has continued to ring out in the nation’s capital as leaders grapple with Iraq’s greatest political crisis since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Protests once again erupted in Iraq’s Green Zone – the center of Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies – after Muqtada al-Sadr said he had had enough of politics and stepped down from his cleric role.

Nationwide curfews were enacted this week and al-Sadr on Tuesday called on his loyalists to leave the Green Zone as more than 400 people have been injured as his supporters trade heavy fire with Iraqi security forces.

Iran announced border closures in an effort to prevent the chaos from creeping across its shared border with Iraq and Kuwait called on its citizens to leave Iraq immediately.

The violent protesting stems from 10-months of political unrest after al-Sadr’s party won the largest share of parliamentary seats in the October 2021 election, but failed to secure the government majority.

Al-Sadr – who is supported by Iraqi nationalists and some of nation’s poorest that were oppressed under the Hussein regime – refused for months to negotiate terms with his Iran-backed Shiite rivals.

But on Tuesday he attempted to lower the temperature and urged his supporters to leave the Green Zone and stop all violent activity.

"This is not a revolution," al-Sadr reportedly said in a televised address.

The Iraqi military also said it would end its curfew in the hopes it would halt all violence in Baghdad.