Iraqi prime minister to resign amid protests

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Friday announced his resignation following Wednesday’s firebombing of the Iranian consulate in Najaf and weeks of antigovernment protests that have left hundreds dead, The New York Times reports. In a statement, Mahdi said that his decision would allow Iraq to “preserve the blood of its people, and avoid slipping into a cycle of violence, chaos, and devastation,” although his successor has not been named.

At least 400 protesters have been killed since the beginning of October, with 40 shot dead by security forces in three cities Thursday and early Friday. The demonstrators, a mix of educated, urban idealists and working-class Shiite Muslims, have been protesting perceived government corruption, as well as unemployment and what they see as Iran’s influence over the country.

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