Iraqi police open fire at protesters near Basra oilfields

Iraq suffers from acute financial crisis due to dropped oil prices and anti-terrorism expenses [File photo]

Baghdad ( – Four Iraqi protesters were killed and injured Sunday after security forces opened fire at them near oilfields in northern Basra, Baghdad News website quoted a provincial official as saying.

Security forces guarding oilfields in Talha district in Basra opened fire at a group of protesters, who gathered on the road leading to West Qurna Field, demanding job opportunities and improving the quality of petroleum and security services.

Mohsen al-Bahly, a spokesman for the protest, accused the Iraqi police of randomly opening fire at the demonstrators, leaving a 25-year-old young man dead and three others wounded.

According to Bahly, the protesters left the scene once the clashes erupted.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry ordered forming a panel to open a probe into the death and injury of the Iraqi protesters.

According to the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, “the panel was directed to prepare a report on that score as soon as possible.”

Local communities and tribes in Iraq, where foreign oil companies are developing the OPEC nation’s vast energy reserves, periodically protest to urge companies to provide jobs and other benefits.

Stability in Basra, the main southern city at the edge of the Gulf, is of vital importance as a hub for oil exports accounting for over 95 percent of government revenues.

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