Fighting intensifies in Baghdad after Sadr quits politics

Fighting intensifies in Baghdad after Sadr quits politics

Fighting between rival Iraqi forces raged for a second day Tuesday with rocket fire echoing from Baghdad's Green Zone where 23 supporters of powerful Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr have been shot dead, medics said.

Fighting between rival Iraqi forces raged for a second day Tuesday with rocket fire echoing from Baghdad's Green Zone where 23 supporters of powerful Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr have been shot dead, medics said.

Tensions have soared in Iraq amid a political crisis that has left the country without a new government, prime minister or president for months, and escalated sharply after Sadr's supporters on Monday afternoon stormed the government palace following their leader's announcement that he was quitting politics.

The violence pitches backers of Sadr against rival Shiite factions backed by neighbouring Iran.

Overnight, shelling targeted the high-security Green Zone that houses government buildings and diplomatic missions, a security source said, amid angry protests after Sadr's surprise announcement.

At least seven shells fell in the high-security Green Zone, the security source said on condition of anonymity, but it was not immediately clear who was responsible.