| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Iraqi soldiers kill 5 Sunni protesters

Protesters help an injured man during clashes in Fallujah, Iraq, on Friday, Jan. 25. AP

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi troops opened fire on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators in the country's restive west on Friday, leading to the deaths of at least five protesters — the first fatalities in more than a month of anti-government rallies. Two soldiers were killed, apparently in retaliation.

The violence is likely to exacerbate tensions between the Shiite-led government and minority Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment and what they see as unfair policies targeting their sect.

Hours after the shooting, police said gunmen attacked an army checkpoint, killing the soldiers, in apparent payback for the earlier bloodshed. At least one army vehicle was set ablaze, and dozens of civilian gunmen were seen roaming the streets before local authorities imposed a curfew in the city.

The protest was part of a wave of rallies that first erupted in Anbar province last month after the arrests of bodyguards assigned to Sunni Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi, who hails from the area. The protesters are demanding the release of detainees and the cancellation of a tough counter-terrorism law and other policies they believe overwhelmingly target Sunnis. Many link their cause with the broader Arab Spring and are calling for the downfall of the government altogether.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has done little to crack down on the protests and has released hundreds of detainees in a concession to the protesters' demands. But he has also criticized some in their ranks for seeking to undermine the democratic process and exacerbate the country's sectarian divisions.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. France hails 130 victims of Paris terrorist attacks
  2. Suicide bomber targets crowd of Shiites in Nigeria
  3. Civilian officers slain by gunmen in southern Mexico
  4. Watchdog counts $1 billion wasted in Afghanistan
  5. France, Russia iron out alliance against Islamic State
  6. In Uganda, Pope Francis pays tribute to nation’s martyrs
  7. Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
  8. Pakistani doctor who led CIA to bin Laden stuck in prison
  9. France honors attack victims in city subdued by mourning
  10. Slaying in Venezuela spurs fears of political violence
  11. Russia vows to punish Turks financially