Politics

Iraqi PM Kadhimi survives assassination attempt


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi has said he was unharmed during the drone attack on his home in the capital of Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi called for calm and restraint after reassuring the public that he was unharmed. (AP File Photo)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi called for calm and restraint after reassuring the public that he was unharmed. (AP File Photo)
(TRTWorld)

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt using an explosive-laden drone that targeted his residence, and is seemingly unscathed.

Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that seven security guards were injured in the attack early Sunday within Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone area.

The prime minister tweeted shortly after the attack: “The rockets of treason will not shake one bit of the steadfastness and determination of the heroic security forces.”

“I am fine and among my people. Thank God,” he wrote.

Residents of Baghdad heard an explosion followed by gunfire from the direction of the Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and government offices.

Kadhimi’s office described the attack as a ” failed assassination attempt”.

The United States swiftly condemned the attack and said it was “relieved to learn the Prime Minister was unharmed”.

“We are in close touch with the Iraqi security forces charged with upholding Iraq’s sovereignty and independence and have offered our assistance as they investigate this attack,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

A large number of security forces were deployed in and around the heavily guarde d Green Zone, which also hosts the US embassy and is frequently targeted by rocket attacks.

The attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone was the first to target the residence of Kadhimi, who has been in power since May 2020, and came as Iraq’s political parties wrangle over who will run the next government after elections last month.

Rising tensions

It was not clear who was behind the attack, nor did anyone immediately claim responsibility. 

The assassination attempt comes amid a stand-off between security forces and pro-Iran Shia militias whose supporters have been camped outside the Green Zone for nearly a month after rejecting results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections in which they received the least votes.

Protests turned deadly on Friday when demonstrators marched toward the Green Zone, and an exchange of fire saw one protester killed. 

Dozens of security forces were injured. Khadimi ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated orders not to open fire.

READ MORE: Iraqi PM orders probe into protest deaths amid election dispute

Following October 10 elections, militia supporters pitched tents near the Green Zone, rejecting the election results and threatening violence unless their demands for a recount were met.

The election was held months ahead of schedule in response to mass protests in late 2019 that saw tens of thousands in Baghdad and predominantly Shia southern provinces rally against endemic corruption, poor services and unemployment. 

They also protested against Iran’s heavy-handed interference in Iraq’s affairs through militias.

The militias lost some popularity since their initial 2018 voter appeal and election success. Many now hold them responsible for suppressing the 2019 popular protests, and challenging the state’s authority.

READ MORE: Worrying number of rights violations occurred in lead up to Iraq elections

Source: TRTWorld and agencies



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