Hundreds of supporters of pro-Iran groups clashed with security forces in Iraq's capital, leaving more than 100 people injured as they vented their fury over last month's election result.

Police fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air as protesters threw stones and tried to advance towards Baghdad's Green Zone.
Police fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air as protesters threw stones and tried to advance towards Baghdad's Green Zone. (Reuters)

An investigation has begun into the deaths and injuries of demonstrators and security forces after clashes in Baghdad.

Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi on Friday ordered the formation of a committee to investigate following clashes between Iraqi security forces and supporters of parties disputing the results of a general election in October, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported, citing Iraq's Joint Operations Command..

A Joint Operations Command statement did not mention the number of deaths and injuries.

The statement added that "the negligent will be brought to legal accountability for their negligence and violation of the explicit orders of the commander in chief, which stressed that live bullets should not be fired under any circumstances," INA reported.

Al Kadhimi also ordered compensation for victims of the clashes and decided to personally supervise the progress of the investigation, INA said.

It was the first significant violent clash between government forces and supporters of the political parties, most of which have armed wings and are aligned with Iran, since those groups lost dozens of parliament seats after the October 10 vote.

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Protests over election results

Police fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air as scores of the protesters threw stones and tried to advance towards Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, the security sources said.

"There were 125 people injured, 27 of them civilians and the rest from the security forces," the health ministry said.

The parties that made the biggest gains in Iraq's October election include that of populist Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who publicly opposes Iranian interference in Iraqi politics and has called for all remaining Western troops to withdraw from the country.

The Iran-backed groups disputing the election result are also Shia but follow an Iranian model of theocratic governance which the nationalist Sadr and many ordinary Iraqi Shias reject.

As per al Kadhimi's orders, the investigation committee will include the security of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a state-sanctioned umbrella organisation of mostly Shia militias backed by Iran, INA said.

Iraq's majority Shias have dominated government since the US-led overthrow of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. Sunnis and Iraqi Kurds, the next biggest religious and ethnic groups in Iraq, lead significant alliances in parliament.

The election result was seen as a rejection by voters of foreign influence, especially that of Iran.

The parties disputing the result say there were irregularities in the voting process and vote counting, but have not provided compelling evidence for their claims.

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Source: Reuters