Home Uncategorized Exploding drone assassination attempt on Iraqi PM fails

Exploding drone assassination attempt on Iraqi PM fails

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Exploding drone assassination attempt on Iraqi PM fails

Iraq

Exploding drone assassination attempt on Iraqi PM fails

Mustafa al-Kadhimi was unhurt when drone targeted his residence inside the fortified Green Zone, says government

Iraqi security forces at a gateway to the Green Zone during protests.

Staff and agencies

Last modified on Sun 7 Nov 2021 01.58 EDT

An exploding drone aimed at the Iraqi prime minister’s house has failed to kill him, the government has said. Mustafa al-Kadhimi was reported by the government to be unharmed.

In a statement released early on Sunday, the government said the drone tried to hit al-Kadhimi’s home in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and government offices. Residents of Baghdad heard an explosion followed by gunfire in the area.

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Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that seven of his security guards were injured in the attack. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to give official statements.

“I am fine and among my people. Thank God,” the prime minister tweeted shortly after the attack. He called for calm and restraint, “for the sake of Iraq”.

A handout picture showing damage to the prime minster’s residence after a failed assassination attempt on Saturday night.

He later appeared on Iraqi television, seated behind a desk in a white shirt, looking calm and composed. “Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future,” he said.

A security statement released by state-run media said the failed assassination attempt was with “a booby-trapped drone that tried to target his residence in the Green Zone”. It added that he was not harmed and was in good health.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which the US condemned as terrorism.

“We are relieved to learn the prime minister was unharmed. This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was directed at the heart of the Iraqi state,” state department spokesperson Ned Price said.

“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.”

A spokesman for the commander in chief of the Iraqi armed forces said the security situation was stable inside the Green Zone on Sunday.

Images published by the state news agency INA showed damage to some parts of the prime minister’s residence and a damaged SUV vehicle parked in the garage.

Remains of a small explosive-laden drone used in the attack were retrieved by security forces to be investigated, a security official with knowledge of the attack told Reuters.

“It’s premature now to say who carried out the attack,” said the security official on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to comment on security details.

“We’re checking our intelligence reports and waiting for initial investigation results to point the finger at perpetrators.”

Pro-Iran Shia militias supporters have been camped outside the Green Zone for nearly a month after they rejected the results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections, in which they were the biggest losers.

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Protests turned deadly on Friday when the demonstrators marched towards the Green Zone and there was an exchange of fire in which one protester was killed and dozens of security forces were injured.

Al-Khadimi ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated orders not to open fire. Some militia leaders have openly blamed al-Kadhimi for Friday’s clashes and the protester’s death.

Al-Kadhimi, 54, was Iraq’s former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister in May last year. He is considered by the militias to be close to the US, and has tried to find a balance between Iraq’s alliances with the US and Iran.

Prior to the elections, he hosted several rounds of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia in Baghdad in a bid to ease regional tensions.

The US, the UN security council and others have praised the 10 October election, which was mostly violence-free and without major technical glitches.

After the vote, militia supporters had pitched tents near the Green Zone, rejecting the election results and threatening violence unless their demands for a recount were met.

The unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud have cast a shadow over the vote, while the standoff with the militia supporters has also increased tensions among rival Shia factions.

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

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

The militias have lost popularity since the 2018 vote, when they made big election gains. Many Iraqis hold them responsible for suppressing the 2019 protests, and for challenging the state’s authority.

The biggest gains in this year’s poll were made by influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who won the largest number of parliament seats, 73 out of 329. While he maintains good relations with Iran, al-Sadr publicly opposes external interference in Iraq’s affairs.

The protests appeared to be aimed at pressuring al-Sadr to ensure that Iran-aligned factions are part of the next Cabinet. As the winner, al-Sadr’s bloc will seek coalition partners and name the prime minister.

With Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse

Topics

  • Iraq
  • Middle East and North Africa
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Published at Sun, 07 Nov 2021 00:55:41 +0000

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/exploding-drone-assassination-attempt-on-iraqi-pm-fails

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