Protesters return to Baghdad's Green Zone, sparking violence

Iraq's military has imposed a curfew on Baghdad "until further notice", state television said in a news flash.

Thousands of supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Friday attempted to break into Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" again, three weeks after storming parliament.

Security forces repsonded with tear gas, and reportedly with live fire.

Interior Ministry sources told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions of speaking to the media that 21 people were injured in brawls between protesters and security forces.

In an effort to quell escalating violence, authorities implemented a curfew for Baghdad residents and closed entrances into the city.

The protesters on Friday added to their grievances the authorities' failure to maintain security following a wave of bombings claimed by Islamic State this month in Baghdad which killed more than 150 people.

The earlier protests at the fortified compound had been instigated largely by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric who wields political influence in the country.

Mr Sadr supporters protesting parliament's failure to approve a non-political cabinet also stormed the Green Zone on 30 April in an unprecedented breach of the central district, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies. "Don't side with the corrupt!"

Sadr expressed support for what he called a "peaceful spontaneous revolt" and condemned the government for "killing its children in cold blood".

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has proposed reforms and wants to replace the current government of party-affiliated ministers with a cabinet of technocrats.

The Islamic State has lost 45% of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20% of areas it controlled in Syria, according to recent estimates by a US -led coalition combating the extremist group.

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