BAGHDAD - Iraqi security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas in renewed clashes with anti-government protesters in central Baghdad on Friday, killing three people, while Iraq's top Shi'ite religious leader warned its government to heed calls for sweeping political reforms.
Separately, a bomb placed under a car exploded near a central square, killing two protesters and wounding 10 others, police and hospital officials said. They said the blast, which damaged several cars in the area, occurred between Tayaran and Tahrir squares, the latter being the epicenter of anti-government protests in the capital.
It was the first such incident in the capital since the demonstrations began in early October, although it was not immediately clear whether the explosion targeted the protesters.
Earlier, protesters repeatedly regrouped from under clouds of tear gas as they fought to tear down a concrete wall blocking access to Khilani Square. Security forces erected the barrier to keep the demonstrations from crossing a bridge that leads to the fortified Green Zone, the seat of government and many foreign embassies.
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