Iraq: Masked armed men attack TV stations – More than 100 killed in 5 days of unrest
Masked gunmen have ransacked the offices of multiple television stations in Baghdad, as the death toll nears 100 following five days of anti-government protests.
The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel said masked gunmen who arrived in black cars wearing black clothes stormed the offices of the television station, attacked some employees and smashed equipment before fleeing the scene.
Majed Hamid, the channel’s correspondent in Baghdad, said several colleagues were injured. He added that the station had been receiving threats for several days.
The offices of Dijla, NRT, Arabiya Hadath, Fallouja, Alghad Alaraby, Al-Sharqiya, and Sky News Arabia were also reportedly targeted.
Among the networks targeted were Kurdish, Jordanian, international and locally-owned outlets.
The identity of the attackers is unknown, though NRT claimed that they belonged to “security forces.” On the other hand, Al-Arabiya claimed that the attackers actively “prevented the federal police from helping” its staff.
At least 19 people were reported killed on Saturday as the Iraqi government continued a brutal crackdown on protests.
The protests began over unemployment and poor services but have escalated into calls for a change of government and pose one of the worst security challenges in years in the war-weary country.
They appear to be independent of any political party and seemingly took the security forces by surprise.
A Baghdad resident and engineer by profession said: “What you are seeing is a revolution by the Iraqi people against the worst government in the world – a gang of thieves. We will achieve victory for the people and death for those who betrayed Baghdad.”