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Iraq deploys army, police to Nasiriyah following deadly clashes

Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (portrait) attend Friday prayers in Baghdad's Sadr City on May 6, 2016, [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]
Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr attend Friday prayers in Baghdad's Sadr City on May 6, 2016, [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence yesterday announced the deployment of army and police forces in Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhi Qar Governorate, to restore calm in the city following violent clashes between anti- government protesters and supporters of Shia cleric, Muqtada Al-Sadr, Anadolu news agency reported.

"The Iraqi army has begun implementing a security deployment plan in Nasiriyah, after the arrival of reinforcements from the 37th Brigade and the Special Missions Brigade of the Federal Police," the security's media department said in a statement.

According to the statement, the deployed forces aim to "impose law, enhance security, and protect citizens and public and private interests".

READ: Sadr calls on supporters to attain majority in next Iraq parliament

Meanwhile, a provincial police source, who asked not to be named, told the news agency  that the security forces have imposed a triple cordon around Al-Haboubi Square, where the protesters are located, to protect them from any possible attack.

Ridha Al-Rikaby died yesterday after being hit in the head by a bullet  on Friday, bringing the death toll from Friday's violence to eight.

After last week's clashes, authorities imposed a lockdown to try to stem further rallies in the southern city, sacked the provincial police chief, and launched an investigation into the events.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi yesterday dispatched National Security Advisor Qasem Al-Arakji and other senior officials to Nasiriyah for talks with protesters.

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