Public and journalists removed

Najaf provincial council session moves behind closed doors after heated debate

NAJAF — The Najaf Provincial Council’s Tuesday session was abruptly moved behind closed doors after a heated exchange between council chairman Hussein Al-Issawi and his deputy, Gaith Shabib, according to a source inside the session who spoke to 964media on condition of anonymity.

Initially open to the public, the session began a vote that approved a decision to settle 3,000 families displaced to Najaf following the 2014 war against ISIS. The proposal, recommended by former governor Majid Al-Waeli, passed in the presence of the heads of the Directorate of Migration and Displaced Persons and the Najaf Municipality, who were invited to attend the vote.

The session reportedly took a turn following a debate over the formation of committees within the council. The source at the session described a tense discussion between Al-Issawi and Shabib as escalating into a “heated argument.”

Following the disagreement, Al-Issawi reportedly ordered journalists and the public to leave, declaring the remainder of the session closed to observers. The source further claimed that Al-Issawi told Shabib, “If you don’t like the situation, you can leave the session.”