Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has ordered to launch an investigation into the work of security forces, which protected government buildings and the Iranian consulate in Basra city shaken by violent riots, the government press service said.
On Friday, demonstrators stormed one of the presidential palaces in Basra amid ongoing mass protests against lack of basic services and corruption. The protesters torched one of the four presidential palaces in Basra after attacking the Iranian consulate on Friday and burned offices of pro-Iranian political parties on Thursday, local media reported.
The protesters also attacked the West Qurna-2 oilfield near Basra, operated by Russia's Lukoil, though none of the company's employees or contractors received injuries.
"The head of the council of ministers and the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, Haider Abadi has ordered to launch an investigation against security forces personnel, who were in charge of protection of Iraqi organizations and the Iranian consulate in Basra, for failure to fulfil their duties," the press service said.
The Foreign Ministries of Iran and Bahrain have already urged their citizens to leave Iraq. The Iraqi parliament will hold an extraordinary meeting on Saturday to discuss the situation in Basra.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Friday that Iran condemns the "brutal attack" on the Iranian Consulate in Iraq's Basra and demands immediate punishment of the perpetrators
The number of injured in violent riots in Basra has increased to 45 and at least two people were killed, a spokesman of the Iraqi Health Ministry Seif Badra said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.
Previous protests in Basra broke out in June before spreading to other areas of southern Iraq. Discontent has been sparked by problems with electricity and water supplies that have been exacerbated by scorching heat this summer. The government had formed a special commission to deal with the demands, pledging to allocate some $17 million to fixing electricity and water supplies. The promise resulted in protests subsiding before reigniting on Monday.