domingo, 9 de marzo de 2014

Iraqi soldiers killed as hundreds mourn slain protesters; lawmakers challenge ... - Washington Post

Also on Saturday, Iraqi lawmakers said parliament has approved a law that would limit the terms of the prime minister, president and parliament speaker to a maximum of two terms. The measure, which must still be approved by Iraq's president, could pose a challenge to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's plans to seek the post again in 2014.

Fallujah police Maj. Rasheed al-Adeeli said one of the soldiers killed was hit by a sniper on the outskirts of the city. Another was shot dead when gunmen attacked a military post where soldiers were packing up their equipment on the northern edge of the city.

Gunmen ambushed the car of three off-duty soldiers on the outskirts of Fallujah and kidnapped them, according to state television and a provincial police official reached by The Associated Press. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said authorities have launched a manhunt for the missing men.

Mourners hoisted caskets and waved Iraqi flags while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" or God is great. The funeral procession took place in central Fallujah, not far away from the city's cemetery.

Iraqi soldiers opened fire Friday on stone-throwing demonstrators near Fallujah, killing at least five, according to local authorities. Two other soldiers were killed Friday in apparent payback for the protesters' deaths.

Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment and what they see as unfair policies targeting their sect began demonstrating last month in Anbar. The protests have since spread to other predominantly Sunni areas.

The protesters are demanding the release of detainees and the cancellation of a tough counterterrorism law and other policies they believe overwhelmingly target Sunnis. Many link their cause with the broader Arab Spring and are calling for the downfall of the government altogether.

International rights group Amnesty International pressed the Iraqi government to immediately investigate the protesters' deaths and make its findings public.

"Anyone found responsible for abuses — including anyone found to have used excessive force against protestors — must be brought to justice," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty's deputy program director for the region. She also urged authorities to ensure security forces are properly trained and equipped to deal with demonstrators in a way that respects human rights.

Iraqi state television aired a statement from the Defense Ministry on Friday evening saying it would investigate what happened in Fallujah. Repeated efforts to reach ministry officials directly were unsuccessful.

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