Fear and joy on the streets of Baghdad after Soleimani killing
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The death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a US air raid Friday triggered celebrations on the streets of Baghdad, where protesters have been demonstrating against Iran’s influence on the Iraqi government. But others are fearful Iraq is about to be drawn into a new and bloody conflict.
Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for external operations, was killed by a US air strike at Baghdad airport.
The US has accused Soleimani of spearheading Iranian efforts to exert political influence on Iraq, including supporting pro-Iranian militias blamed for a recent attack on the US embassy in Baghdad.
Protests in Iraq began at the start of October over perceived government corruption, unemployment and a lack of public services, along with Iran’s interference in the country’s political affairs.
Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation against the US for Soleimani’s killing, while Washington has urged its nationals In Iraq to leave immediately.
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