Iraqi PM safe after drone attack on residence, army says


An explosives-laden drone targeted the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad early Sunday in what the Iraqi military called an assassination attempt, but said Kadhimi escaped unscathed.

The attack, which security sources said injured several members of Kadhimi’s personal protection team, came after protests in the Iraqi capital following last month’s parliamentary elections turned violent.

The US State Department condemned the attack and offered to help with the investigation.

“This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was directed at the heart of the Iraqi state,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We are in close contact with the Iraqi security forces responsible for maintaining Iraq’s sovereignty and independence and have offered our assistance in the investigation of this attack.”

Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani on Sunday condemned an attack on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Baghdad, calling it a “new sedition”. tanks, ”he said on Twitter, without giving more details.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi armed forces commander-in-chief said the security situation was stable inside the walled Green Zone of Baghdad, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, after the drone attack.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi attends the Baghdad summit in Baghdad, Iraq, August 28, 2021. (IRAQI PREMIER MINISTER MEDIA OFFICE / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS / FILE PHOTO)

Images released by the state news agency INA showed damage to parts of the Prime Minister’s residence and a damaged SUV vehicle parked in the garage.

The remains of a small explosive-laden drone used in the attack have been recovered by security forces for investigation, a security official with knowledge of the attack told Reuters.

“It is now premature to say who carried out the attack,” the security official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to comment on security details. “We are checking our intelligence reports and awaiting the first results of the investigation to point the finger at the culprits.”

The groups leading the protests and complaints over the outcome of the October 10 vote are heavily armed Iranian-backed militias that lost much of their parliamentary power in the election. They alleged irregularities in the voting and counting of votes.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Kadhimi’s residence in the green zone.

The Iraqi military said in a statement that the attack targeted Kadhimi’s residence and that he was “in good health”. He did not provide any further details. Kadhimi’s official Twitter account said the prime minister was safe and called for calm.

Two government officials said Kadhimi’s residence had been hit by at least one explosion and confirmed to Reuters the prime minister was unharmed.

Six members of Kadhimi’s personal protection force stationed outside his residence were injured, security sources told Reuters.

Western diplomats based nearby in the Green Zone said they heard explosions and gunshots in the area.

Supporters of the Iranian-aligned militias, which have expanded their power in parliament and government in recent years, protested against the October election results.

Protests by their supporters turned violent on Friday when protesters pelted police with stones near the green zone, injuring several police officers.

Police retaliated with tear gas and live ammunition, killing at least one protester, according to security and hospital sources in Baghdad.

Independent analysts say the election results reflected anger at Iranian-backed armed groups, which are widely accused of being involved in the killing of nearly 600 protesters who took to the streets in separate anti-government protests in 2019.


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