Two people were killed and 19 injured in clashes between security forces and supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr near the Republican Palace in Baghdad yesterday, citing Iraqi medical sources. The US State Department denied reports that its embassy had been evacuated. The deaths took place “in the middle” of the fortified Green Zone, where the palace and US embassy are situated, the medical sources told Sky News Arabia. Earlier, hundreds of protesters had pulled down concrete barriers and stormed the palace. This came after al-Sadr announced his resignation from politics following months of failed attempts to form a government in the face of opposition from rival, Iran-allied Shia factions. Shortly before news of the casualties broke, the news agency AFP reported that gunshots could be heard echoing over the Green Zone. This gunfire can be heard in video footage from the scene.
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