Rockets fired at Basra airport as violent protests grip Iraq

BASRA/ERBIL, Iraq, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Basra airport was attacked with rockets on Saturday after another night of protests against Iraq's political elite, during which demonstrators set fire to the Iranian consulate and briefly took oilfield workers hostage.

Iraq's second city has been rocked by five days of demonstrations, in which government buildings have been ransacked and set alight by protesters angry over political corruption. Protests first erupted in July over poor government services, but intensified this week.

Organizers of the demonstrations said they would pause on Saturday, but there was still a heavy presence of security forces in the city of more than 2 million people as a curfew resumed at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT), with streets emptying out.

Security sources said three Katyusha rockets fired by unknown assailants had hit the perimeter of the airport, although no damage or casualties had been reported. The U.S. consulate is adjacent to the airport.

RELATED: Unrest in Basra sparks multiday protests of Iraq's political elite

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Unrest in Basra sparks multiday protests of Iraq's political elite
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Unrest in Basra sparks multiday protests of Iraq's political elite
Iraqi protesters chant slogans and march with a mock-coffin draped with the national flag and bearing the name 'Basra' on its front as they gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters chant slogans and march with a mock-coffin draped with the national flag and bearing the name 'Basra' on its front as they gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi protester flashes the victory gesture outside outside the burning local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters chant slogans as they gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Iraqi protesters gather at the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather at the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Iraqi protesters wave a national flag while demonstrating outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters chant slogans and march with a mock-coffin draped with the national flag and bearing the name 'Basra' on its front as they gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi covering her face holds up a candle during a demonstration against poor public services outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters chant slogans and march with a mock-coffin draped with the national flag and bearing the name 'Basra' on its front as they gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters wave a national flag while demonstrating outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters gather outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters wave a national flag while demonstrating outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters stand on the ledge of a wall outside outside the burning local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi protester waves a national flag while demonstrating outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in the southern city of Basra on September 7, 2018 during demonstrations over poor public services. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on September 7, 2018 shows the burning headquarters of the Iranian consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra which was torched by protesters during demonstrations over poor public services, after parliament called for an emergency session on the unrest. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - This picture taken on September 7, 2018 shows the burning headquarters of the Iranian consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra which was torched by protesters during demonstrations over poor public services, after parliament called for an emergency session on the unrest. - Basra has seen a surge in protests since September 4, with demonstrators torching government buildings as well as political party and militia offices, as anger boils over after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi protester holds up a portrait depicting Iran's former and current Supreme Leaders Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei alongside an Iranian flag during demonstrations against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 7, 2018. - Iraqi protesters on Friday torched the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Basra on September 7 in fresh demonstrations over poor public services after parliament called for an emergency session on the unrest. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An Iraqi protester holds up an Iranian flag as another sets it on fire for him, next to a portrait depicting Iran's former and current Supreme Leaders Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei, during demonstrations against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 7, 2018. - Iraqi protesters on Friday torched the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Basra on September 7 in fresh demonstrations over poor public services after parliament called for an emergency session on the unrest. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi soldiers stand guard Tahrir Square as protesters demonstrate in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters light candles as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters light candles as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters light candles as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters light candles as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters light candles as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Policemen stand guard the Tahrir Square as protesters demonstrate in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Policemen stand guard the Tahrir Square as protesters demonstrate in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Policemen stand guard the Tahrir Square as protesters demonstrate in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Policemen stand guard the Tahrir Square as protesters demonstrate in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqis demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on September 7, 2018, against corruption and lack of services. - Three mortar shells hit late September 7 the green zone in Baghdad, which houses Iraqi authorities and the US Embassy, 'without any victims or causing damage,' the head of security for the capital said. The rare assault by unidentified attackers comes as the country struggles with an outbreak of violent protests in southern Basra city. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People march during the funeral of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People attend the funeral of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People shout slogans during the funeral of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People carry the coffin of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 during a funeral at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People carry the coffin of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 during a funeral at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07: People carry the coffin of a demonstrator who lost their life within a protest against lack of public service, unemployment and corruption on September 07, 2018 during a funeral at Hakimiyya Square in Basra, Iraq. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07 : An Iranian observes the headquarters of pro-Iranian Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq after it was burnt down by a group of demonstrators in Iraq's oil rich southern province of Basra on September 07, 2018. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07 : An Iranian observes the headquarters of pro-Iranian Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq after it was burnt down by a group of demonstrators in Iraq's oil rich southern province of Basra on September 07, 2018. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07 : Iranians observe the headquarters of pro-Iranian Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq after it was burnt down by a group of demonstrators in Iraq's oil rich southern province of Basra on September 07, 2018. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BASRA, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 07 : An Iranian observes the headquarters of pro-Iranian Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq after it was burnt down by a group of demonstrators in Iraq's oil rich southern province of Basra on September 07, 2018. (Photo by Haider El Esedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iraqi women demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi women demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows from Basra's government complex in the aftermath of violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An Iraqi man stands in the damaged Basra's government complex in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the damaged house of Basra's governor in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the damaged house of Basra's governor in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the damaged house of Basra's governor in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An Iraqi man stands in the damaged Basra's government complex in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
The burnt Basra's government complex is seen in the aftermath of a violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows from Basra's government complex in the aftermath of violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows from Basra's government complex in the aftermath of violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqis stand outside the damaged house of Basra's governor in the aftermath of violent protest against the government and the lack of basic services on September 7, 2018 in the southern city of Basra. - Iraq's parliament today called an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters break into an official building as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Iraqi protesters break into an official building as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters break into an official building as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters break into an official building as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi protesters break into an official building as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Iraqi protesters light candles in front of official buildings as they demonstrate against the government and the lack of basic services in Basra on September 6, 2018. - A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on September 6 as a fresh outbreak of violent protests left one person dead and 35 injured, officials said. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP) (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
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An airport official said there had been no disruption to operations.

The attack came shortly after the overnight curfew was lifted and hours after the reopening of Iraq's main seaport, Umm Qasr, which protesters had paralyzed by blocking its entrance.

On Friday, protesters broke into the Iranian consulate, shouting condemnation of what many see as Iran's sway over Iraq's affairs, and set it alight. Iran and Iraq both strongly condemned the move, raising fears of possible retribution.

Another group of protesters entered a water treatment facility linked to the West Qurna 2 oilfield and held two workers hostage for about an hour before leaving peacefully. Production was not disrupted, a manager at the oilfield said.

 

POLITICAL INFIGHTING

Residents in Basra say they have been driven onto the streets by corruption and misrule that have allowed infrastructure to collapse, leaving no power or safe drinking water.

The crisis comes at a time when politicians still have not agreed on a government after an inconclusive election in May. The new parliament met for the first time on Monday, but failed to elect a speaker, much less name a prime minister.

Parliament convened an emergency session on Saturday to discuss the crisis in Basra and the current prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, warned that the situation could descend into armed conflict.

"Politics should be separated from security and services," he said.

Nevertheless, leaders of all the major blocs vying to form a ruling coalition criticized one another's roles in the crisis.

Following the session, the two largest electoral blocs, the Conquest Coalition and Sairoun, called on Abadi to resign.

Sairoun is led by Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist Shi'ite cleric whose electoral bloc came first in May's election, who has allied himself with Abadi.

Their alliance is competing to form a new government against the Conquest Coalition, backed by Abadi's predecessor Nuri al-Maliki and the leader of an Iran-backed Shi'ite armed group, Hadi al-Amiri. Amiri first called for Abadi to resign on Friday.

Three protesters died on Friday and 48 more were wounded, 26 of whom were shot, sources said, while two members of the security force were wounded.

At least 13 protesters have died, some in clashes with security forces, since Monday.

At a cabinet meeting, ministers agreed to send a delegation to Basra, and Abadi said he had ordered an investigation into the security forces "for not fulfilling their duties" in protecting government buildings and the Iranian consulate.

The heads of Basra Operations Command and the Basra Police were both sacked on Saturday. (Reporting by Aref Mohammed in Basra and Raya Jalabi in Erbil; writing by Raya Jalabi; editing by Alexander Smith and Kevin Liffey)

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