Protesters in Basra burn Iraqi Parliament offices after series attacks on activists

BASRA, Iraq — Protesters rallied in Basra, in southern Iraq, to demand that the Iraqi Parliament remove the provincial governor after two activists were killed and others injured in three separate attacks by unidentified gunmen in the past few days.

The protests come after the murder of activist Reham Yacoub, a 29-year-old doctor and athletics coach who has led several women’s rights protests since demonstrations began in 2018. Three others traveling with Yacoub were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their car.

Riham Yaaqub, shot and killed by gunmen riding a motorcycle. (Image: Riham Yaqqub / Social media)

Five days before Yacoub’s murder, activist Tahsin Al-Shahmani was murder, shot more than a dozen times by unidentified gunmen.

On Monday, three more activists in Basra — Ludia Rimon, Fahad Al-Zubaydi and Abbas Al-Subhi — were heading to the Shahmani family home to offer their condolences when a car full of armed men began firing at them.

All three survived the attack.

Criticizing days of inaction following the attacks, the protests flung Molotov cocktails at parliamentary offices.

So far in August, there have been six assassination attempts on prominent activists.

In July, prominent security and extremist expert, respected historian, and government adviser Hisham al-Hashimi was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle in Baghdad. Al-Hashimi had done extensive research on the Islamic State and had begun to shift his focus to the militias of the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), many of which are loyal to Iran.