Iraqi pro-Gaza protesters block oil tanker trucks from entering Jordan

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BAGHDAD – Hundreds of Iraqis protesting against Israel’s attacks on Gaza are blocking oil tanker trucks from crossing into Jordan, saying they will not allow Iraqi oil to be exported to countries that have peace agreements with Israel.

Some 800 supporters of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an Iranian-backed umbrella group of mainly Shi’ite militia, began a sit-in on Friday at Iraq’s main border crossing with Jordan, to express solidarity with Gaza and call for an end to Israel’s bombardments and blockade.

Iraq transports about 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in tanker trucks to Jordan, one of the few Arab states that has a peace treaty and a long history of close security ties with Israel.

Preventing the trucks from crossing “is meant to prevent Iraqi oil, which reaches them (Jordan) at a subsidized price, from going to countries that have normalized relations with Israel,” said protester Karar al-Zamili.

The crossing, in Anbar province, is the closest access point from Iraq to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The blockade began on Wednesday morning, said an Iraqi official speaking on condition of anonymity.

At least 70 trucks carrying crude oil used to pass through every day, the official said, adding that the protesters were not blocking passengers or other goods from going through. REUTERS

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