Baghdad [Iraq], October 13 (ANI): As many as eight rockets hit Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone on Thursday when the Parliament session is underway to elect the country’s new president, media reports said.
The attack took place when lawmakers gathered for the parliament session near the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, which is home to government buildings and foreign missions, Al Jazeera reported citing the military statement.
Iraqi lawmakers reconvened in the afternoon after a quorum was reached to postpone the session, with at least 269 of the 329 members attending the session, Al Jazeera reported.
A first round of voting on the presidential nomination resulted in failure to reach the required two-thirds majority. A second round was underway.
The rocket strikes took place after an alliance made up of mostly Iran-backed Shiite parties, named Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as their nominee for the premiership submitted a formal letter claiming to be the largest bloc in Parliament.
According to the officials, at least five people were injured including members of the security forces in Thursday’s attack, according to VOA.
The attack was condemned by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Twitter, saying “we categorically reject any attempt to obstruct the democratic process.”
“We support the completion of the constitutional deadlines to end the political crisis,” he said.
However, there is no immediate claim of responsibility.
In an earlier incident that occurred late last month, rockets hit the Green Zone as the lawmakers were about to vote for the deputy speaker of parliament, Al Jazeera reported.
Iraqi cleric Al Sadr’s supporters stormed the parliament on June 30 earlier and stalled the government formation process when Al-Sudani was first named the nominee.
Notably, Al-Sadr’s bloc won 73 seats in Iraq’s October 2021 election, making it the largest faction in the 329-seat parliament but, ever since the vote, talks to form a new government have stalled, and Al-Sadr stepped down from the political process. A deadlock persists over the establishment of a new government.
In 2016 too Al-Sadr’s supporters stormed the parliament in a similar fashion. They staged a sit-in and issued demands for political reform after then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sought to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats in an anti-corruption drive.
Mass protests erupted in 2019 amid public anger over corruption and unemployment and this current protest poses a challenge for the oil-rich country. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.