BAGHDAD: A prominent Iraqi journalist, shot by gunmen Monday in southern Iraq, has undergone brain surgery and is in a critical condition, a Baghdad hospital said.
The attack on Ahmed Hassan came exactly 24 hours after anti-government campaigner Ihab al-Wazni was shot dead, also in the south, sending protest movement supporters onto the streets to demand an end to official impunity.
Hassan was shot several times by an assailant as he arrived home at night near Diwaniyah, in images captured on a surveillance camera as in a string of previous attacks.
He had to be transported to a hospital in the capital that specialises in neurological surgery.
"Ahmed Hassan has been operated on and transferred to intensive care where he will be kept under constant surveillance for a critical period of two weeks," hospital spokesman Mohammed Mouyed said.
He said that Hassan, who works for Al-Forat satellite television, underwent several procedures.
On Sunday, Wazni was shot dead in an ambush outside his home in the city of Karbala.
Around 30 activists have died in targeted killings and dozens of others have been abducted or survived attacks since October 2019.
None of these attacks have been claimed but activists have repeatedly blamed armed groups linked to Iran who wield considerable influence in Iraq.
Authorities have consistently failed to publicly identify or charge the perpetrators of these killings.
Al-Forat's owner Ammar al-Hakim, a prominent Shiite politician, Monday urged the government to "protect freedom of speech" and to "urgently" shed light on the assassinations.
After Wazni's murder, Al-Beit Al-Watani (National Bloc), a movement born out of the anti-government protests, said it would boycott parliamentary elections slated for October.