UPDATED: Iraq lifts citywide curfew in protest-hit Basra

People gather during a protest near the building of government office in Basra, Iraq September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

Basra ( – Iraqi authorities lifted on Saturday night a curfew in Iraq’s southern oil hub Basra seven hours after it was enforced there to quell escalating protests, an Iraqi security source told Sputnik.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that “the curfew was lifted at 11 pm (local time) after it came into effect at 4 pm.”

According to the source, “the decision to lift the curfew in Basra was taken following the heavy deployment of security forces in the governorate and improvement of the security situation there.”

Iraqi authorities imposed earlier in the day a curfew on Basra amid large protests against corruption and lack of basic services.

The curfew was imposed by Basra Operation Command at 4:00 pm (local time).

Seif al-Badr, a spokesman for the Iraqi Health Ministry, announced that seven people were killed and 50 others injured during Basra protests on Friday.

“The injured included 48 civilians and two security men,” Badr told Alsumaria News.

Oil-rich Basra is one of the southern Iraqi cities that have recently witnessed mass protests over the dire state of the nation’s economy. The demonstrators are rallying against poor public services and corruption.

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