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The Latest: Activist couple shot dead in tense Iraqi city

BAGHDAD — The Latest on developments on violence gripping Iraq for the third straight day amid anti-government protests (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Iraqi security officials say unknown assailants have shot and killed an Iraqi activist and his wife in the southern city of Basra.

The officials say Hussein Adel Madani, a cartoonist, was shot dead along with his wife, Sara Madani, by masked gunmen who stormed their house in the city early on Thursday amid ongoing unrest and protests gripping the country.

The well-known activists had been taking part in protests in the city Wednesday night. They were shot dead a few hours later. The couple has a two-year-old daughter, Zahra, who was unharmed.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which is the latest in a string of assassinations targeting activists in Basra in the past year.

_Nabil Al-Jurani in Basra, Iraq;


9:30 a.m.

Iraqi security forces have fired live bullets and used tear gas against a few hundred protesters in central Baghdad, hours after a curfew was announced in the Iraqi capital on the heels of two days of deadly violence that gripped the country amid anti-government protests.

Before dawn on Thursday, explosions were heard inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies. The U.S.-led coalition said an investigation is underway, adding that no coalition forces or assets were hit.

So far, at least nine people have been reported killed and hundreds have been wounded since the violence and clashes between security forces and anti-government demonstrators first erupted on Tuesday.

The Associated Press