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Iraqi parliament staff return to work after weeks-long hiatus

Employees returned to work on Sunday for the first time since Sadr supporters stormed the legislature in late July

Iraqi parliament staff returned to work on Sunday for the first time since supporters of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr stormed the legislature in late July, an assembly official said.

The development came as President Mohammed al-Halbusi suggested an agenda for an upcoming national dialogue session following an 11-month political paralysis that sparked deadly clashes in Baghdad last week.

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“All Parliament staff have returned to work,” following orders issued on Saturday evening, the Parliament official said. AFPon condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“Operations in parliament have been suspended since protesters stormed the Legislative Assembly building,” he said.

Protesters had staged a sit-in outside the assembly for weeks after initially storming it to demand new elections and the dissolution of parliament.

They withdrew last Tuesday on Sadr’s orders after nearly 24 hours of violence pitting them against the military and Iran-backed factions that left more than 30 Sadr supporters dead.

The fighting that began when Sadr’s supporters stormed the government palace in the capital’s walled Green Zone marked one of the deadliest bouts of street violence in the country in nearly three years.