Iraqi PM asks protesters to stay home to aid Fallujah push 
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - REUTERS
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BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister has appealed to Iraqis to postpone weekly Friday protests so that security forces can focus on a key military operation aimed at retaking the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group.

During a visit Thursday to Fallujah Operation Command, Haider al-Abadi called on Iraqis to be “vigilant and cautious” as security forces seek to protect the capital from the threat of militant attack while also battling IS.

For months, anti-government protesters, mainly followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have been holding protests every Friday outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone to demand reform.

Earlier this month, demonstrators knocked down the concrete blast walls surrounding the Green Zone and broke into Iraq’s parliament and government offices, plunging the country into a prolonged political crisis.

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