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IMIS deploys snipers to counter protests in Baghdad: Source

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The Iranian-backed IMIS militias deployed snipers in Baghdad last month to counter massive protests against government, security sources from Iraq said.

Earlier this month thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad and several other southern provinces to call for government resignation as the country still struggles with wide-spread corruption, lack of services, high rate of unemployment.

Different sources working at high-level ranks in Baghdad told Reuters that Hashd al-Shaabi leaders decided on their own during the protests to face the protesters.

“We have confirmed evidence that the snipers were elements of militias reporting directly to their commander instead of the chief commander of the armed forces,” Reuters quoted one of the Iraqi security sources. “They belong to a group that is very close to the Iranians.”

A second Iraqi security source, who attended daily government security briefings, said militia men clad in black shot protesters on the third day of unrest, when the death toll soared to more than 50 from about half a dozen.

The fighters were directed by Abu Zainab al-Lami, head of security for the Hashd al-Shaabi.

The second security source told Reuters that the snipers were using radio communications equipment that was provided by Iran and is difficult to intercept, giving the groups an essentially private network.
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