ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An official at Basra International Airport confirmed on Saturday that unknown assailants have fired three Katyusha rockets at the airport, with no known casualties.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack as no one has claimed responsibility for it, an official told AP. Some local media reported it had been not three, but four rockets fired.
The airport official mentioned that the Katyusha attack did not disrupt the flights in the airport, which is where the US Consulate in Basra is located.
The incident came after a chaotic night in which hundreds of angered protesters stormed and burned the Iranian consulate and other Iranian interests in the oil-rich city.
The protests in Basra are one of the most serious incidents in the heartland of the majority Shia city in years. Since July 9, protesters have taken to the streets to demand improved public services, clean water, regular electricity, employment, and an end to the widespread corruption in the government institutions.
So far, over 20 people have died recently while protesting and hundreds more were injured, according to local human rights groups.
Earlier on Friday, influential Shia cleric and winner of Iraq’s May election Muqtada al-Sadr publicly warned Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that failing to meet the demands of Basra protesters who "will not easily stand down," would be catastrophic.
Also on Friday, the US Consulate General in Basra expressed “deep concern” about protests in the oil-rich city, and called on the Iraqi government to investigate the allegations of excessive force being used against the demonstrators.
“The US Consulate General in Basrah [Basra] expresses its deep concern about the violence in some of the recent demonstrations and deeply regrets the lives lost and injuries sustained by protesters and security forces this summer. We express our solidarity with the citizens of Iraq, our community, during this difficult time,” the statement read.
The day before, the European Union (EU) highlighted the urgent need for Iraq to form a new government and respond to the demands of the demonstrators.
Editing by John J. Catherine