Danish NGO targeted by “armed attack” in Iraq

Earlier on Saturday, Iraqi security forces dispersed hundreds of supporters of cleric Moqtada Sadr in Baghdad as they tried to enter the highly-secured diplomatic district.

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Iraqi supporters of Moqtada Sadr demonstrate in Baghdad, July 22, 2023, after alleged desecration of the Quran in Denmark.  (Murtaja Latif/AFP)

Tensions are rising again in Iraq. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) reported on Saturday 22 July a “Weapon Attack” Against its campus located near the metropolis of Basra in the south of the country. The NGO said in a statement that its staff “physically harmless”. However, it causes material damage, indicating that “structures” have been burned. The attack follows press reports that appear to have desecrated the Koran in Denmark.

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On its Facebook page, the far-right Danske Patriotic Movement posted a video on Friday of a man burning a copy of Islam’s holy book and trampling on an Iraqi flag. Contacted by AFP on Saturday, Copenhagen’s deputy chief police inspector Drin Fisker said. “Yesterday I confirmed a very small demonstration in front of the Iraqi Embassy: I can confirm that a book was burned, we don’t know which book it is”.

Baghdad condemns the ugly facts

Earlier on Saturday, Iraqi security forces dispersed hundreds of supporters of cleric Moqtada Sadr in Baghdad as they tried to enter the ultra-secure Green Zone, which includes embassies. According to an AFP photographer, they tried to march towards the Danish embassy

For days, Moqdada Sadr has been throwing tantrums, embarrassing Iraqi officials, against a backdrop of heightened regional diplomatic tensions. After two recognized public incidents in Stockholm, in which a Koran was desecrated by an Iraqi refugee, the Swedish embassy in Baghdad was torched by Sadrist protesters on Thursday, the Iraqi government announced the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador and regional condemnation followed.

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Iraq’s foreign ministry issued a condemnation on Saturday “Holy Quran and Iraqi flag insulted in front of Iraqi embassy in Denmark”. These are “Atrocious facts cannot be part of freedom of expression and freedom of expression”He adds.

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