Police and militias clash in Baghdad
Armed clashes between Iraqi police forces and militias broke out on Thursday morning in central Baghdad, resulting in casualties on both sides, an interior ministry source said.
The exact number of injured from the police and the predominantly-Shia Popular Mobilisation Forces was impossible to ascertain, as the area of the clashes was cordoned off by Iraqi forces. The source indicated that the clashes took place at a checkpoint near the National Theatre in the Karrada district of the Iraqi capital.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that a security unit apprehended a militia member who was riding in a stolen car from Tikrit, where they have been fighting Islamic State group fighters, and carrying an unlicensed weapon. The unit was then attacked by members of the militia, before being apprehended by the Iraqi police.
Baghdad has witnessed rising tensions over the past few days between the security forces and the militias, with dozens of militia members captured. In Taji, north of Baghdad, Popular Mobilisation militia stormed a local police station, and set free detained militia members who had been arrested.
On Wednesday, the leader of the Shia Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, warned that there were sectarian propagandists within the expansive and multi-faction Popular Mobilisation Forces.
In his statement, Sadr stressed the importance of isolating the sectarian and factional elements, and called upon the Iraqi parliament to enact a law that would block what he termed US intervention in the country's affairs. He also threatened to hold a large demonstration of his movement's supporters should it appear that the government is not up to the task of addressing his countrymen's safety concerns.
Meanwhile, 30 Iraqis were killed and injured in renewed airstrikes and shelling of Fallujah, in the country's western Anbar province. The city is being fought over by IS and Iraqi government forces.
A medical source told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Fallujah hospital received 11 bodies last night as a result of the fighting, including two children and four women, as well as 20 others wounded.