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Iraqi activist shot dead in Baghdad

Local media reports that Salah al-Iraqi was shot five times in suburb of Baghdad al-Jadeed
A social media picture of Salah al-Iraqi (Facebook)

A well-known Iraqi activist was shot dead in Baghdad on Tuesday evening, the latest in a long line of assassinations in the country.

According to local media, Salah al-Iraqi was shot five times in the suburb of Baghdad al-Jadeed by masked gunmen.

"Sheikh Zayed Hospital received the body of the victim with five bullet marks," a source told the Nas News website, adding that "the activist arrived at the hospital dead".

The site said a police investigation into the circumstances of his killing was underway.

Numerous activists, campaigners and journalists have been kidnapped or killed in Iraq in the past year, following mass anti-government demonstrations that began in October 2019.

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At least 600 people have been killed either by the police during demonstrations or by shady armed groups.

In his last post on Facebook, only a few hours prior to his death, Iraqi berated the "cowards" who ruled his country and praised "every martyr who fell in the October revolution".

"The innocent die while the cowards rule," he wrote.

Demonstrators have called on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took over from Adel Abdul Mahdi in May after the latter's ousting in December 2019, to hold accountable those responsible for the activists' deaths.

Although Kadhimi has promised to investigate, so far there has been little progress, according to activists.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch raised the case of Arshad Heibat Fakhry, a 31-year-old activist who has not been heard from since he was detained by armed men in November.

The organisation said Kadhmi's government had "little to show for these promises, and disappearances have continued".

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