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Muqtada al-Sadr Orders Supporters to Leave Baghdad Government Quarter

Shiite protesters loyal to Shiite cleric and Sadrist movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, some of whom are armed, clash with government forces in the Green Zone in central Baghdad on Tuesday. Some have died in the clashes, which began Monday. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA-EFE
Shiite protesters loyal to Shiite cleric and Sadrist movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, some of whom are armed, clash with government forces in the Green Zone in central Baghdad on Tuesday. Some have died in the clashes, which began Monday. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA-EFE

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his supporters Tuesday to leave the government quarter in Baghdad, where they have been fighting for two days with security forces, deepening the country’s political crisis.

Sadr, who’s long been an opponent to Iran and the United States, announced his resignation from politics this week, leading supporters to protest in the streets. They eventually overwhelmed Baghdad’s Green Zone and fought with government security officers, some of whom are members of Iran-backed Shiite paramilitary groups.

By Tuesday, officials said about two dozen people have been killed in the clashes.

Many government offices and foreign embassies are located in the Green Zone, which was an area occupied by U.S. forces during the war in Iraq in the mid-2000s.

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