A curfew in Basra, in effect from 16:00 (local time) on Saturday, September 8, was lifted on Saturday night after security forces were deployed to the area. The streets of the city remained relatively calm on Saturday following violent anti-government protests that enveloped the city on Friday, September 7, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency. Unidentified assailants did, however, fire three missiles at Basra International Airport (BSR) on Saturday. The strike did not cause any casualties or flight disruptions and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Continuing high tensions are expected in Basra over the coming days amid a heightened security presence. Additional protests and violent clashes are to be expected in the near-term.
Protesters set fire to several buildings in Basra on September 7, including the Iranian consulate, the provincial government building, and the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq group headquarters, among others.
Protests in Basra have left at least a dozen people dead and nearly 100 others wounded since September 1, according to Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights. On September 6, local authorities revoked a city-wide curfew due to the police's inability to enforce it amid the widespread violence. Basra has witnessed a series of protests in recent months as residents denounce the government's perceived inadequate provision of public services.
Individuals in Iraq, and particularly those in Basra, are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.