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VOA English Newscast 1600 UTC: May 20, 2016


A supporter of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr hurls a tear gas canister back at security forces during clashes after demonstrators broke into Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 20, 2016.

A supporter of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr hurls a tear gas canister back at security forces during clashes after demonstrators broke into Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 20, 2016.


From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Phoebe Zimmermann reporting.

Anti-government protesters appear to have broken into the International Zone of Baghdad - the seat of (the) Iraqi government and the location of most foreign embassies.

There are reports of massive shooting and some explosions as protesters neared the secure area, known as the Green Zone.

An official at the emergency desk at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said he couldn't confirm whether protesters were in the zone, or if they were near the embassy compound…only that they had a situation there.

There were reports the protesters were heading toward the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Badi.

The protesters had been demanding that a new cabinet of technocrats be named to run the country. They are led by Shi'ite religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

Nigeria's Military says that a second “Chibok girl'' rescued in a forest battle with Islamic extremists, was kidnapped from her home village, and is not among the 218 students missing from a 2014 mass abduction from a school by Boko Haram that sparked worldwide outrage.

The girl is one of three daughters of a pastor of the Nigerian branch of the U.S.-based Church of the Brethren, kidnapped by Boko Haram in two separate attacks, community leader Pogu Bitrus told The Associated Press.

An army spokesman said soldiers freed the girl after a Thursday night battle in the northeastern Sambisa Forest, in which it liberated 97 women and children and killed 35 extremists.

The spokesman originally claimed the girl was among missing girls abducted more than two years ago from a boarding school in Chibok.

The girl's abduction is an indication of how widespread the Islamic extremists' tactic of kidnapping girls and young women is.

This is VOA News.

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