At Least 20 Killed in Bloody Crackdown on Iraq’s Karbala Protesters

Govt denies anyone was killed, insists attack didn't happen

Overnight in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala, a brutal crackdown was launched against anti-government protesters. The attackers were in plainclothes with black masks, and by the time they were done, 20 were dead and over 800 wounded.

Since they were plainclothes, and not the military, the government is insisting that the whole thing didn’t happen, insisting that there were no deaths in Karbala, except for one in an unrelated crime.

Iraqi protesters aren’t buying the idea that this didn’t happen, and tens of thousands rallied against in Baghdad, defying army threats and curfew orders, adding size to the demonstrations and demanding the prime minister resign.

Tuesday’s rallies in Baghdad were the largest yet, filling Tahrir Square, and with top political figures also joining forces to call for Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi’s removal from power, it seems less and less likely that he’s going to be able to turn it around and survive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of