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At least four dead in Fallujah protests

Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Officials in Iraq's Anbar province said four people were killed when Iraqi troops fired on protesters calling on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign.

At least four people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in protests Friday in Fallujah, the capital of Anbar, CNN reports, citing unnamed provincial health officials.

CNN reported that demonstrators in Fallujah were chanting slogans calling on Maliki, a Shiite, to step down. Witnesses told CNN correspondents that Iraqi troops may have been responding to protesters who were throwing objects at them.

A large protest movement against Maliki has emerged from Anbar, a predominately Sunni province. Elections in Iraq are scheduled for April.

Iraqi Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi escaped a recent assassination attempt and parliamentarian Ifan al-Issawi was killed during protests last week in Fallujah.

Last week, Martin Kobler, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq and head of the assistance mission there, said he was alarmed by the escalation of violence in Iraq. Attacks last week left dozens of people dead and more than 100 wounded. Some of the attacks were said to target the offices of political parties in the disputed northern city of Kirkuk.

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