Six people were killed in three blasts in Iraqi capital Baghdad, medics say, even as Iraqi security forces shot dead two protesters in Baghdad and central Karbala cities.

Iraqi security forces clash with demonstrators during ongoing anti-government protests, in Baghdad, Iraq, November 26, 2019.
Iraqi security forces clash with demonstrators during ongoing anti-government protests, in Baghdad, Iraq, November 26, 2019. (Reuters)

At least six people were killed in near-simultaneous explosions across various Baghdad neighbourhoods late Tuesday, medics and a security source said, amid deadly anti-government protests in Iraq's capital and its restive south where two protesters were killed in clashes.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the three blasts, two of which were caused by explosives-laden motorcycles and the third by a roadside bomb, the medics and security source told AFP news agency. 

Officials said the explosions occurred around 8 pm (1700 GMT) Tuesday evening. 

According to the Associated Press, at least three people were killed and five wounded in an explosion in the southwestern Baiyaa neighbourhood. Two were killed and four wounded in the northeastern Shaab City, and four were wounded in Baladiyat, in the southeast.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attacks. Daesh group has carried out scores of bombings in Iraq and still has a presence in some parts of the country despite no longer controlling territory.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters.

Protesters targeted 

Earlier, in central Iraq's Karbala, security forces shot dead a protester, AFP news agency cited medics as saying.

Another Iraqi protester was killed in capital Baghdad and dozens more were wounded across the country's restive south as sit-ins turned violent, medics said.

The demonstrator died after being shot by a rubber bullet near Al Ahrar bridge, which has been sealed off by security forces as it leads to a cluster of government buildings on the west bank of River Tigris.

A further 18 demonstrators were wounded near Al Ahrar on Tuesday.

Skirmishes widen

The area, north of the main protest camp of Tahrir Square, has become a flashpoint, with security forces using volleys of tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire to keep crowds from crossing the bridge.

At least 350 people have died and around 15,000 have been wounded since anti-government protests erupted in Baghdad and the Shia-majority south nearly two months ago.

In Hillah, south of Baghdad, security forces fired tear gas grenades at protesters overnight, wounding around 60 people, medics there said.

It marked the first violent turn for Hillah, where largely peaceful sit-ins have kept government offices and some schools closed.

In Diwaniyah, further south, schools, and public buildings have also been shut for the last month amid strikes and road closures, but skirmishes with riot police have been rare.

Overnight, demonstrators tried to blockade main bridges and one of the province's three power stations, burning tyres along highways leading to the Shia holy city of Najaf to the west and Samawa further south.

In Karbala, Iraq's second Shia holy city, demonstrators and security forces lobbed Molotov cocktails at one another.

Nighttime skirmishes have become routine in the city, but on Tuesday they carried on into midday.

Oil production intact 

In Dhi Qar, arteries linking key cities and the three oil fields of Garraf, Nasiriyah, and Subba were shut.

Clashes with police guarding the fields left 13 officers wounded.

The three oil fields together produce around 200,000 of Iraq's roughly 3.6 million barrels a day.

The turmoil over the last two months has not significantly impacted oil production or exports in OPEC's second-largest crude producer.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies