AOAV: all our reportsExplosive violence in Iraq

20 people killed and 300 injured in armed clashes outside Iraq’s Republican Palace, 29-30 Aug.

In over 24 hours of violence, at least 20 people were killed and around 300 injured during clashes between political factions in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Five security personnel were also killed, and 105 injured. 

On Monday 29 Aug, Iraqi Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics. His supporters, already gathered in a sit-in in front of parliament to demand its dissolution, stormed the Republican Palace, clashing with rival protestors supporting the Iran-backed Coordination Framework Alliance. 

Eventually, militias associated with both sides descended on the streets, and by nightfall, the unrest had become all-out fighting. Mortar shells were fired at the residential areas in the Green Zone, and RPGs and machine guns were fired throughout the clashes. 

On Tuesday, Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his supporters to withdraw, and by Wednesday calm had been restored. It is unclear as of yet how many casualties are civilians, and how many are members of armed militias. 

The unrest follows months of political deadlock after Sadr’s party won the majority of seats in Parliament last October, but failed to reach an agreement with the Coordination Framework Alliance. 

Based on AOAV’s review of English-language news sources, since 2010 ground-launched weapons, including RPGs and mortars, have caused 7% of the total 58,927 civilian casualties of explosive weapon use recorded in that time. IEDs have caused 81%. 

Of the 18,231 armed actor casualties of explosive weapon use recorded in Iraq since 2010, 47% were caused by air-launched weapons, and 45% by IEDs. 

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Iraq have been decreasing since 2018. However, in 2022, the number of civilian casualties has been increasing since April. August has been the most harmful month for civilians in Iraq in 2022 so far.

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.