Anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad. Associated Press
The death toll from mass protests in Baghdad and cities across southern Iraq rose to 93 on Saturday as the unrest entered its fifth day, parliament's human rights commission said.
Nearly 4,000 people have also been injured since the protests against chronic unemployment, poor public services and widespread corruption erupted in the capital on Tuesday, the commission said.
It was not immediately clear whether the latest deaths were from Friday's huge protests or fresh demonstrations on Saturday.
The authorities have imposed a virtual blackout of the internet and confirmation of protest casualties in the provinces has trickled in slowly.
A total of 540 demonstrators have been arrested, of whom nearly 200 remain in custody, the panel added.
Defying curfews, tear gas and live rounds, truckfuls of demonstrators gathered to vent anger over corruption, unemployment and poor services in the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.
In his first public address since protests began, the embattled premier made a televised speech early Friday as heavy gunfire rang out across Baghdad.
He described recent events as "the destruction of the state, the entire state", but refrained from directly responding to the protesters' demands.
Instead Abdel Mahdi defended his government's achievements and pledged a monthly stipend for families in need, while asking for time to implement a reform agenda promised last year.
Until now the leader has preferred to communicate by written statement, even as state media said he had met with unnamed protest leaders.
Hours earlier in Baghdad crowds swelled around the ministry for oil and industry, with demonstrators vowing to march to the capital's emblematic Tahrir Square.
"We'll keep going until the government falls," said 22-year-old Ali, an unemployed university graduate.
"I've got nothing but 250 lira ($0.20) in my pocket while government officials have millions," he told the media.
Most demonstrators carried the Iraqi flag while others held banners bearing the name of Hussein, a revered figure in Shiite Islam.
Police and army troops used automatic weapons mounted on military vehicles to fire at the ground, the bullets ricocheting into the crowd.
Wounded protesters piled into small tuk-tuks to reach hospitals.
"Why do the police shoot at Iraqis like them? They suffer like us -- they should help and protect us," said protester Abu Jaafar.
The demonstrations have left 31 people dead, including two police officers, and more than 1,000 people have been wounded.
"US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land," the embassy said in a statement. The US strike hit outside Baghdad airport early Friday but security sources told the media it was still open to flights.
Showing no signs of seeking to ease tensions raised by the strike he ordered that killed Soleimani and Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis at Baghdad airport on Friday, Trump issued a threat to Iran on Twitter. The strike has raised the spectre of wider conflict in the Middle East.
Trump’s comments Sunday came amid escalating tensions in the Middle East following the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force. Iran has vowed to retaliate and Iraq’s parliament responded by voting Sunday to oust US troops based in the country.
During a visit to the condolence majlis in Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed prayed to God to grant eternal rest to the deceased and bestow strength and solace upon his family.
Among the violations committed by those were participating in random marches, driving a vehicle in a way that endangers driver’s life or life, safety or security of others, causing chaos on the roads, making changes in the vehicle’s engine or chassis without a permit
Sheikh Mohamed affirmed the solidarity of the United Arab Emirates with the Kingdom of Bahrain, praying to the Almighty to continue its security and safety.
"The bomber detonated himself near the vehicle of the Deputy Superintendent of Police," Deputy Inspector General of Police Munir Ahmed told Reuters, adding that blast took place near a mosque where people were gathering for a procession to mark Mohammad's birthday, which is a public holiday.