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Basra Health Directorate publishes casualty figures following unrest in 2018

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On 21 January, the Basra Health Directorate released the total number of casualties as a result of protest activity during the summer of 2018. According to the statement, 320 civilians and 106 security personnel were wounded, while 18 individuals were killed. The department also released the names of those killed. Between 8-15 July, 111 civilians and 35 security members were wounded, with three individuals killed. The majority of protest activity during this period was reported outside IOC sites and associated locations, as protesters attempted to amplify their demands. This period notably witnessed the first recorded death of a protester on 8 July, which arguably inflamed local frustrations and ignited a series of violent demonstrations.

Between 15-31 August, 22 civilians and nine security members were wounded, and one individual was killed. Finally, during the first week of September, 187 civilians and 62 security members were wounded, with 14 individuals killed. This apogee of unrest witnessed protesters breaching and torching the Basra Governorate Building on the evening of 4 September, an event which was swiftly followed by the torching of the Iranian Consulate and multiple Shi’a PMF headquarters in Basra City.

Initial casualty figures were unconfirmed and largely sourced from unofficial accounts, as government and security officials were often unwilling to comment on civilian casualties. These latest figures provide a critical insight into this tumultuous period that affected every corner of Basra Province in some capacity, as well as highlighting the level of violence that was witnessed during this period. Despite the current lack of significant protest activity in Basra Province, cautious optimism remains in effect since the underlying issues have not been entirely addressed.

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