Iraqi activist survives assassination attempt in Najaf

An Iraqi civilian activist in the city of Najaf survived an assassination attempt after gunmen opened fire on his car, local sources said on Saturday.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi civilian activist in Najaf survived an assassination attempt after gunmen opened fire on his car in the city, local sources said on Saturday.

Muslim al-Zorfi is a prominent local activist in Najaf who works in the field of education and chairs the Sani’I al-Ajiyal community, or Generation Makers in English, in Najaf, sources told Kurdistan 24.

One source said a number of gunmen sprayed Zorfi’s car with bullets in the city center on Saturday, with some shots penetrating the body of his vehicle and wounding his leg. Other sources confirmed the details of the incident, adding that the activist was then transported to a Najaf hospital for treatment.

According to official statistics, unidentified gunmen have assassinated up to 30 activists, most of whom participated in the anti-government protests that erupted late last year to call for the ouster of Iraq’s ruling elite.

Since they began in early October 2019, over 500 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and demonstrators, and thousands of others injured in protests in major cities, including Baghdad, Najaf, and other southern and central Iraqi cities.

While the Iraqi government has taken responsibility for some of the killings, allegations have been leveled at Iranian-backed militias for many incidents involving dozens of deaths among protesters, who have also decried Tehran’s influence in Baghdad.

In late December, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) announced that close to 70 people had been reported abducted or missing since the start of the protests. The interior ministry, IHCHR said, “continues to search and investigate the fate of those missing and [will] rescue them as soon as possible.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany