Snipers blamed for bloodshed as Iraq death toll nears 100

By: Simona FOLTYN | Lucile WASSERMANN |

FRANCE 24 screen grab

Iraqi authorities have accused unidentified snipers of shooting into crowds of protesters as the death toll from five days of anti-government protests in Baghdad and southern cities nears 100. FRANCE 24’s correspondents in Baghdad sent this report.

Hussain Husam was only 18 years old when a sniper shot him dead Friday night, while he took part in the anti-government protests that have rocked Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities this week.

In line with Muslim tradition, his neighbourhood accompanies him to celebrate a marriage that will never take place. The coffin bearing his body then arrives at the family home for a final goodbye.

“What will the government do? They will not bring him back to me! They will not bring him back! God shall not forgive them!” screams Husam’s sister.

Like Hussain, many of his friends simply wanted a better life.

“He was a very simple person,” says his friend Alaa Adnan. “His only dreams were to own a house, to get married and to have a job. He lost all three of them.”

In a street of a nearby neighbourhood, another black banner announces another victim. Yassin Abbas was present when his cousin was shot dead.

“We were sitting in a shop while the demonstrations were going on,” he recalls. “There was a man sitting among us, around 40 years old, he went out to have a smoke. A little bit further in the street, a sniper hit him in the leg, the man fell down, then he finished him off with a bullet in the head. My cousin went to help him, but he got a shot in the back of his head.”

A government spokesperson told FRANCE 24 that a probe into the killings is underway.  But so far, authorities say they have no idea who is behind them.

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