Iraqi paramilitaries claim massacre of protesters... then deny it

Iraqi paramilitaries claim massacre of protesters... then deny it
Hashd al-Shaabi said they were hacked after a statement appeared on their website claiming responsibility for the Khilani massacre on Friday.
2 min read
09 December, 2019
Iraqis have been protesting corruption [Getty]
Iraq's Popular Mobilizsation Forces authority, also known as Hashd Al-Shaabi, announced that its website was hacked following a statement that they were responsible for an attack that killed dozens.

On Friday, gunmen in cars opened firein Baghdad's Khilani Square, leaving 24 people, including 20 protesters and four policemen, dead and at least 60 wounded.

The attack came as anti-government demonstrators occupied parts of Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar bridges in a standoff with security forces.

All the bridges lead to or near the heavily-fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq's government.

Shortly after the attack, the PMF admitted to carrying it out in a statement on their website, blaming Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for orchastrating it.

Sunday evening, they released another statement claiming to have been hacked.

"The hackers published a statement about the unfortunate events of al-Khulani Square, which is incorrect, and it was deleted," Hashd said in a statement.

Iraqis have for two months been protesting against corruption.

The rallies have persisted despite the resignation of premier Adel Abdel Mahdi earlier this month, with protesters demanding the complete ouster of the ruling class.

Iraq is the Middle East's second-largest oil producer but millions of its people are unemployed or live in poverty.

It is ranked the 12th most corrupt country in the world by watchdog group Transparency International, with billions of dollars pilfered each year from the state budget.

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