AMARA, Iraq — On Sunday, Iraqi security sources stated that unidentified gunmen assassinated tribal sheikh Abdel Nasser al-Tarfi in Amara in Maysan Province. Al-Tarfi was known for his support for the widespread anti-corruption demonstrations that have been taking place in the country for over a year.
Witnesses stated that the gunmen fled after they carried out the assassination.
Iraqi sources indicated that Sheikh al-Tarfi was known for his strong criticism and opposition to both the Iranian-backed Iraqi militias and the Islamic State (ISIS) and was one of the most prominent Iraqi figures who participated in the demonstrations.
In recent months, Iraq has witnessed several assassinations and attempted assassinations targeting activists and researchers of extremist groups, especially in Baghdad, Basra, and other southern cities.
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.
Observers fear the assassination of al-Tarfi portends serious developments in the country given his prominence.