- Kuwait Times Extra
BAGHDAD: Hundreds of Iraqi Communist Party supporters marched through Baghdad yesterday to mark the July 14 revolution, when army officers overthrew the country’s monarchy and declared Iraq a republic. The three-hour march, which included calls for the government to improve basic services, began at the national theatre and headed towards the party’s headquarters in central Baghdad amid a heavy security presence. The demonstrators carried the flag symbolizing the 1958 revolution, pictures of Abdul Karim Qassim, the Iraqi republic’s first president and banners calling for increased jobs opportunities and better services.
On July 14, 1958, Brigadier General Qassim led a coup overthrowing the monarchy that had ruled Iraq since the modern country was founded in 1921. Unlike many Iraqi protests, which often see angry youths chanting anti-government slogs, Saturday’s Communist rally began with music and traditional dances and ended with poetry praising the revolution and Qassim. “The 14th of July revolution will be in the hearts of Iraqis even after hundreds of years and the name of the leader Abdul Karim Qassim will be held high because he was honest and sacrificed himself for Iraqis,” said Jowada Abdulkadhim, a party member.
In another development, gunmen killed nine people, including seven members of the security forces, yesterday in separate attacks on checkpoints in north Iraq, security and medical officials said. In the deadliest shooting, five members of the security forces died when gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint in the Turkmen town of Rashidiyah, northeast of the main northern city of Mosul, an army captain said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Two other security personnel were wounded, the officer said, without specifying how many of the dead were soldiers and policemen. Doctor Omar Danoon at Mosul hospital confirmed the toll. Iraq’s Turkish-speaking Turkmen community includes about 500,000 people living mostly in Mosul, Kirkuk and Tal Afar. They have been the target of a number of deadly attacks, blamed by local authorities on Al-Qaeda.
South of Mosul, meanwhile, four people were killed-two policemen and two civilians-when gunmen fired at a checkpoint in the village of Hammam Al-Alil, provincial police Major General Mohammed al-Juburi said. The latest violence comes amid a spike in attacks, with Iraq suffering a wave of unrest in June. At least 282 people were killed, according to an AFP tally, though government figures said 131 Iraqis died. While violence in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007, attacks remain common across the country. – Agencies
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