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Iran closes border to Iraq, flights cease amid violent unrest

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran closed its land borders to Iraq as flights to the nation halted Tuesday amid violence in Baghdad following an influential Shiite cleric’s announcement he would resign from politics.

The loss of life toll rose to twenty Iraqis on Tuesday after the unrest erupted the day gone by, in keeping with a senior medical official.

Iraq’s navy mentioned 4 rockets had been launched into the closely fortified Inexperienced Zone, the seat of Iraq’s authorities the place armed clashes raged in a single day between a militia royal to Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi safety forces.

Iranian state tv cited “unrests” and “curfew” in Iraqi cities for the rationale for the border closures. It urged Iranians keep away from any journey to Iraq whereas urging Iran’s Shiite pilgrims in Iraq to keep away from additional journey between cities.

The choice got here as thousands and thousands of Iranians had been making ready to go to Iraq for annual pilgrimage to Shiite websites.

Kuwait in the meantime has urged its residents in neighboring Iraq to depart the nation. The state-run KUNA information company additionally inspired these hoping to journey to Iraq to delay their plans over the eruption of violent road clashes between rival Shiite teams within the nation.

The tiny Gulf Arab sheikhdom of Kuwait shares a 254 kilometer (158 mile)-long border with Iraq.

Dubai’s long-haul service Emirates stopped flights to Baghdad on Tuesday over the continuing unrest in Iraq. The service mentioned that it was “monitoring the state of affairs carefully.”

It didn’t say whether or not flights would resume for Wednesday.

Protesters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who resigned Monday, pulled down the cement obstacles outdoors the federal government palace with ropes and breached the palace gates. Many rushed into the lavish salons and marbled halls of the palace, a key assembly place for Iraqi heads of state and international dignitaries.

Iraq’s navy introduced a nationwide curfew, and the caretaker premier suspended Cupboard classes in response to the violence. Medical officers mentioned dozens of protesters had been wounded by gunfire and tear fuel and bodily altercations with riot police.

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