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Basra Oil Facility Stormed By Protesters, 2 Hostages Taken In Growing Chaos
09-07-2018, 04:24 PM,
Basra Oil Facility Stormed By Protesters, 2 Hostages Taken In Growing Chaos
Basra Oil Facility Stormed By Protesters, 2 Hostages Taken In Growing Chaos

<p><u><strong>update 2:</strong></u><strong> </strong>The situation in the southern Iraq city of Basra is continuing to escalate after rioters burned down the city's sprawling Iranian consulate, and amidst unconfirmed <a href="">rumors</a> that the local American consulate may be under threat, though said to be under heavy guard by Iraqi national forces. </p>

<p>During the night hours Friday protesters have reportedly <strong>stormed an oil facility and are holding two staff workers hostage</strong>. The incident is unfolding at the West Qurna 2 oilfield, which is run by the Russian multinational energy company Lukoil. </p>

<p>According to a breaking <a href=""><em>Reuters</em> report</a>:</p>

<p>Protesters entered a water treatment facility linked to the West Qurna 2 oilfield, managed by Lukoil, and<strong> held two Iraqi employees hostage on Friday</strong>, according to a Lukoil source and a source with Basra’s energy police.</p>

<p>The precise identities of the hostage or the particular group holding them is still unknown at this point. Lukoil is a Moscow-based corporation.</p>

<p><a data-image-external-href="" data-image-href="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Basra%20oil%20hostages.jpg?itok=BA0H1av0" data-link-option="0" href=""><img data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c2e15df7-0f98-45ff-95b4-a5e7b548a3f9" data-responsive-image-style="inline_images" height="337" width="500" srcset=" 1x" src="" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /></a></p>

<p><em>Reuters </em><a href="">continues</a>:</p>

<p>West Qurna 2 oilfield lies 65 km (40 miles) north-west of Basra - a city hit by days of protests. The field produces 390-400,0000 barrels per day and<strong> a disruption of three days would be enough to completely shut down the field</strong>, the Lukoil source added.</p>

<p>Iraqi authorities in Basra have declared <strong>a city-wide curfew as well as a state of emergency</strong>. </p>

<p>Meanwhile, Iraq’s highest-ranking Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday condemned the violence, which has left multiple protesters dead and scores wounded in clashes with security forces, and after buildings across the city have been torched. </p>

<p>But Sistani also expressed solidarity with their grievances, saying that Iraqis <strong>"no longer tolerate more government failures in providing basic services."</strong></p>

<p>* * *</p>

<p><strong><u>update:</u> </strong>Stunning footage has emerged of the Iranian consulate in Basra, Iraq burning after a mob of anti-Iran protesters stormed it near dusk on Friday.</p>
<figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"><a data-image-external-href="" data-image-href="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Basra%20Iran%20consul%20burning.jpg?itok=iUpkwijR" data-link-option="0" href=""><img alt="" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="cad0f8cf-d924-4268-988b-3252fbc44563" data-responsive-image-style="inline_images" height="667" src="" srcset=" 1x" typeof="foaf:Image" width="500" /></a>
<figcaption><em>Flames of the burning Iranian consulate high on the Basra skyline. via Yasser Eljuboori/Twitter</em></figcaption></figure><p>The flames appear multiple stories high and <strong>several explosions can be observed amidst the massive blaze</strong>:</p>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en">Breaking : Major development, Iraqi Protesters torch the Iranian consulate in Basra. <a href="">#breaking</a> <a href="">#iraq</a> <a href="">#iran</a> <a href=""></a></p>
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) <a href="">September 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>There are reports of at least one dead and two dozen injured in clashes with local police as more footage of the giant consulate blaze continues to emerge.</p>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en"><a href="">#BREAKING</a>: Video recorded just 45 minutes ago shows that the <a href="">#Iraq</a>|i protesters managed to set fire in <a href="">#Iran</a>'s consulate building in <a href="">#Basrah</a>. However protesters doesn't want to damage <a href="">#US</a> consulate anymore, but it is heavily protected while Iranian consulate wasn't.<a href="">#BasraProtests</a> <a href=""></a></p>
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) <a href="">September 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>* * *</p>

<p>On Thursday evening <strong>Iran's consulate in Basra was placed under siege by a throng of demonstrators after a 24-hour period in which a dozen local Shia militia HQ offices and buildings were torched across the city. </strong>Mass protests and riots have grown in the city since Monday. </p>

<p>The same night in Baghdad, regional sources indicate <strong>at least three mortars targeted the US embassy in Baghdad's protected 'green zone' landing near the gate but not causing significant damage. </strong>The events were part of a worsening sectarian crisis across the country in which pro-Iran Shia forces have vowed to expel "foreign occupying forces" <em>— </em>however in the Sunni-majority southern city of Basra, Sunni groups have been engaged in mob reprisal attacks. </p>

<p>Moments ago as evening descends on Iraq, <em><a href="<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Iraq</a>|i protesters in <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Basra</a> storm <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Iran</a>|ian Consulate, according to local security sources <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) <a href="">September 7, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>">Al Arabiya</a> </em>and other regional sources report a large group of demonstrators <strong>have now stormed the Iranian consulate at the end of Thursday overnight and daylong Friday protests</strong>. </p>
<figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"><a data-image-external-href="" data-image-href="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Basra%20consulate%20Iran.jpg?itok=gtEGvC0z" data-link-option="0" href=""><img alt="" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9afddba9-99f2-4d8e-9bf1-55abdcc94a0f" data-responsive-image-style="inline_images" height="333" src="" srcset=" 1x" typeof="foaf:Image" width="500" /></a>
<figcaption><em>A government building in Basra goes down in flames as demonstrators riot against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. Via AFP</em></figcaption></figure><p><em>Reuters </em><a href="">confirms</a> the consulate was overtaken by the mob near dusk local time: <em>"The consulate is in the upscale neighborhood of al-Barda'iya, southeast of the city center,"</em> according to early reporting. </p>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
<p dir="rtl" lang="ar" xml:lang="ar" xml:lang="ar">متظاهرو <a href="">#البصرة</a> العراقية يهتفون أمام القنصلية الإيرانية : "<a href="">#إيران</a> برا برا والبصرة حرة حرة”<a href="">#البصره_تهتف_ضد_ايران</a> <a href="">#العراق</a> <a href=""></a></p>
— الأكثر مشاهدة (@TopSaudiNews2) <a href="">September 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Early unconfirmed video circulating among regional sources show that <em><strong>the consulate is on fire</strong></em>. </p>

<p>The below are the first unconfirmed photos of the burning Iran consulate to emerge: </p>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en">Major developments: ? Iraqi protesters burn down the Iranian consulate in Basra <a href="">#breaking</a> <a href="">#basra</a> <a href="">#iran</a> <a href="">#iraq</a> <a href=""></a></p>
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) <a href="">September 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p><a data-image-external-href="" data-image-href="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Burning%20Iran%20consulate.jpg?itok=4Tu05jU3" data-link-option="0" href=""><img data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="592d4de2-7e58-474c-8ebb-7004fd29e8fa" data-responsive-image-style="inline_images" height="375" width="500" srcset=" 1x" src="" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /></a></p>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en"><a href="">#BREAKING</a>: Just 30 minutes ago hundreds of people of <a href="">#Basra</a> who have armed themselves with sticks, batons & small weapons announced that they are going to attack <a href="">#Iran</a>|ian consulate in <a href="">#Basra</a> & will set it on fire. Mortar attack at <a href="">#Baghdad</a>'s Green Zone might be related. <a href=""></a></p>
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) <a href="">September 6, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async="" src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Men wielding sticks and small weapons were filmed making their way toward the consulate Thursday overnight. Chants could be heard in front of the consulate, saying <strong>"Iran out, Basra remains free".</strong></p>

<p>Earlier in the week as Iraqi government buildings came under attack Iran formally requested that Baghdad send extra security personnel to guard the consulate. Prior local reports suggest there was a beefed up security presence; however, crowds of demonstrators appear to have swelled during the night. </p>

<p><em>developing...</em></p><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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