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Activist's killing triggers protests in Iraq's Karbala

'Revolution, revolution, against the Republic of Iran!'

The assassination of an Iraqi activist by unidentified gunmen on Sunday triggered protests in the southern city of Karbala, Anadolu Agency reports.

Ihab Jawad Al-Wazni was killed at dawn near his home in the predominantly Shia city, according to a statement by the Iraqi Defence Ministry.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that hundreds of local residents took to the main streets in Karbala in mass demonstrations condemning the activist's assassination.

Demonstrators blocked a number of main streets in the city and demanded that the security forces reveal the killers of Al-Wazni and threatened to escalate their demonstrations if perpetrators were not exposed, eyewitnesses said.

The killing of Al-Wazni is seen by Iraqis as a message by terrorist gangs affiliated with political parties that they will not back down from their goals of embezzlement, corruption, and mismanagement.

READ: Iraq protesters close gov't offices demanding jobs

Meanwhile, Karbala Governor Nassif Al-Khattabi on Sunday ordered security forces in the city to be on alert in an effort to arrest the suspected assailants, a statement by his office said.

Hundreds of demonstrators also took to the streets in the city of Nasiriyah, the capital of the southern province of Dhi Qar, closing down a number of main roads to protest the killing of Al-Wazni.

Iraq has witnessed sporadic protests since October 2019 due to poor economic conditions and financial and political corruption.

Government figures indicate that 565 protesters and security personnel were killed during the protests, among them dozens of activists assassinated by unknown gunmen.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has pledged to prosecute those involved in the killing of protesters and activists, but no perpetrators have been brought to justice so far.

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