Baghdad: Iraqi authorities are using Iran-made tear gas canisters to kill anti-government protesters rather than disperse them.
Amnesty International said in its updated report that Iraqi security forces were not only using live ammunition but “military-grade tear gas grenades which can shatter skulls when fired at close range”.
One protester yesterday died from a tear gas canister fired directly into his head. More than 280 people have been killed and over 8,000 injured since the protests over a lack of jobs and services began in Baghdad on October 1.
Amnesty also said it had new evidence that the deadly M651 and M713 bombs used widely in Iraq were manufactured by Iran’s Defence Industries Organisation.
However, the watchdog said it had no evidence about the identities of those using the Iranian-manufactured bombs to kill Iraqi protesters.
The watchdog earlier urged Iraqi authorities to stop anti-riot police in Baghdad from using two variants of tear gas which are many times heavier than the standard canisters.
In another development, political parties have refrained from sacking Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi following pressure from Iran. The Iraqi government’s military spokesman Maj Gen Abdul Khalaf said Mahdi will not step down.
The Iranian regime has reportedly drawn up a three-pronged plan in co-ordination with armed factions and militias in Iraq. It involves putting pressure on Shia and Kurd forces to refrain from taking any action to sack Mahdi constitutionally.
Iraqi leader Muqtada Al Sadr would be invited to Iran and convinced to be neutral and refrain from siding with protesters. It was confirmed when Al Sadr headed to Tehran two days ago on a surprise visit.
Under the same plan, Prime Minister Mahdi would be given a free hand to oppress protesters and disperse them. If things go out of control, pro-Iranian armed militias would be deployed to use force against demonstrators.
- A barrage of 17 rockets landed near a military base hosting US forces in northern Iraq yesterday but caused no injuries or major material damage.