BAGHDAD - The death toll in an attack by armed men at Baghdad’s main protest site on Friday night rose to 23 on Saturday, police and medical sources said, the deadliest incident to hit the capital in weeks. More than 127 others were wounded by gunfire and stabbings targeting anti-government protesters near Tahrir Square, police and medical sources said. The death toll includes three members of the police. Thousands of Iraqis have occupied the central square and three nearby bridges which lead to the city’s Green Zone for weeks, calling for the complete uprooting of the current political system. Security sources said they could not identify the gunmen who attacked protesters. The incident was followed by further intimidation early on Saturday morning, as unknown gunmen drove in a convoy down the main riverside street which leads to Tahrir Square, firing a volley of shots towards it. The heavily armed, masked gunmen roamed the street near the square and attempted to advance onto Tahrir Square but were eventually turned around at a checkpoint manned by Iraq’s security forces, witnesses said. The incidents were the most violent flare-ups in the capital for weeks and came a week after Iraqi’s prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said he would resign following two months of anti-government protests. Friday’s deadly attack came hours after Washington imposed sanctions on three Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary leaders who it accused of directing the killing of Iraqi protesters. A senior US Treasury official suggested the sanctions were timed to distance those figures from any role in forming a new government.

Indian woman who allegedly gang raped dies after burn attack

NEW DELHI - An alleged rape victim in northern India who was set on fire while heading to a court hearing in the case has died in a New Delhi hospital, officials said Saturday. The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year, police said. The two were out of custody on bail. Five men were arrested in connection with the burn attack, police said. The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Shalab Kumar, head of the hospital’s burn unit. Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, said that the case would be heard in a fast track court and that the “strictest of punishment will be given to the culprits.” Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the opposition Congress party, faulted the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, for failing to provide the woman with security, even after a similar case in the state in which a woman who accused a BJP lawmaker of rape was severely injured in a vehicle hit-and-run incident. Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is known for its poor record regarding crimes against women. According to the most recent available official crime records, police registered more than 4,200 cases of rape in the state in 2017 — the most in India.