Unidentified gunmen assassinated a senior officer with Saraya As-Salam militia — the “Peace Corps” — of Shia cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday, Anadolu has reported. Hazem Al-Halfi was shot by gunmen who were travelling in a speeding car at the time; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A local police officer said that the attackers fled immediately. The Iraqi security forces are investigating the attack.
The incident comes amid increasing tension between anti-government protesters and Iraq’s ruling political class, including Al-Sadr supporters known as “Blue Hats” who have been using excessive force to disperse the protesters since last Monday.
The protests have escalated following the appointment of former Communications Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as Prime Minister of Iraq earlier this week.