BASRA, Iraq: Iraq’s main seaport Umm Qasr reopened on Saturday at 3 AM and all operations have resumed after protesters left the port’s entrance, port employees and government sources in the area said.
All operations had been halted since Thursday, after protesters blocked the port’s entrance.
Umm Qasr, 60 km (40 miles) south of Basra, receives grain, vegetable oil and sugar shipments that feed a country largely dependent on imported food.
Death toll climbs
At least 12 people have been killed in several days of protests over the lack of public services in Iraq's southern city of Basra, the health ministry said on Saturday.
Basra has seen a surge in protests since Tuesday, with demonstrators torching the Iranian consulate, government buildings as well as offices of political parties and militias considered close to Tehran.
The anger flared after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water, in a city where residents have complained of water and electricity shortages, corruption and a lack of jobs.
The health ministry said 12 people had been killed since Tuesday and 50 -- 48 civilians and two policemen -- injured.
It did not give the circumstances of the deaths.
Medical sources in Basra said two protesters had died on Friday night.
The Iraqi parliament is expected to hold an emergency session later on Saturday to discuss the crisis in public services that has stoked the unrest.