Thursday, September 28

Prominent activist gunned down in Iraq shrine city Karbala


Karbala, Iraq, Dec 9 (AFP/APP): A prominent civil society activist was shot dead late Sunday in Iraq’s shrine city of Karbala while returning home from anti-government protests, a neighbour told AFP.

Fahem al-Tai, 53, had been taking part in weeks of rallies denouncing Iraq’s entrenched political elite as corrupt, inept and beholden to neighbouring Iran.

On Sunday night, he was dropped off by two friends on a motorcycle near his home, according to a neighbour.

“The area is close to the shrines, the police station, the provincial headquarters — it’s a very secure area,” the neighbour said.

“He was with two of his friends when he was killed.”

In footage from a street security camera seen by AFP, Tai could be seen disembarking from a motorcycle when another motorcycle with two men pulled up behind him.

The passenger could be seen shooting Tai at least twice with a pistol that appeared to have a silencer on it, before the driver also begins shooting.

The footage shows the activist collapsing and the assailants driving off.

The gunmen and a white vehicle then chased down the two activists who had dropped Tai off, according to a relative.

One of them was shot in the back but they both survived.

More than 450 people have died and another 20,000 have been wounded since anti-regime rallies erupted in Iraq’s capital and Shiite-majority south in October.

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