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At Least 13 Killed in Southern Iraq Protests


A demonstrator holds an Iraqi flag near burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Nassiriya, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2019.

Security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters in southern Iraq Sunday, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens more.

Anti-government protests have been erupting all across the oil-rich south since October as demonstrators continue to demand an end to corruption and improved services.

In Basra Sunday, seven people were killed in what one security official called "one of the worst'' days of the protest movement.

Four others were killed in Nassiriya province, and one person was killed in both Najaf and Diwanieh provinces, Iraq's state news agency said.

The protests have become increasingly violent, with demonstrators burning and destroying properties and security forces using live fire, tear gas and water cannons to gain control.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraqi officials that Washington would consider imposing sanctions on officials responsible for violence or corruption.

"The United States will use our legal authority to sanction corrupt individuals that are stealing Iraqis' wealth and those killing and wounding peaceful protesters," Pompeo said.