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Pro-Iran protesters torch Kurd party offices in Baghdad

KDP on fire in Baghdad
Supporters of the Iran Militia in Iraq and Syria (IMIS), an Iraqi paramilitary network dominated by Iran-backed factions, Saturday burned down the main Kurdish party’s headquarters in Baghdad after criticism from a Kurdish ex-minister.
Hundreds of IMIS demonstrators swept past a security detail and stormed into the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which runs the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, and torched them.
Protesters burned Kurdish flags while others carried posters of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who were killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last January.
The IMIS paramilitaries were formed in 2014 from mostly-Shiite armed groups and volunteers to fight ISIS.
IMIS has since been formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces and has representation in parliament, and it has spawned several ideologically affiliated armed groups.
Earlier this month, Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s longtime former foreign minister and a key Kurdish power-broker, said the government needed to “clean up the Green Zone (in Baghdad) from the presence of IMIS.”
They were operating “outside the law,” Zebari, a KDP member, said in comments to the US-funded Al-Hurra television.
Vian Sabry, head of the KDP bloc in parliament, condemned Saturday’s attack.
“This isn’t a protest because protests are supposed to be peaceful as per the constitution,” she told AFP.
She blamed “unaccountable factions for being behind such acts,” without elaborating.
On October 1, Kurdish authorities accused IMIS militants of firing rockets at the airport in Irbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, where US troops are based.
Around 90 rocket attacks have targeted the US presence in Iraq since the January drone strike, with several claimed by pro-Iran factions.
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