Iraqi PM survives assassination attempt with armed drones
Erbil, Iraq – The Iraqi prime minister emerged unscathed from an explosive drone attack on his residence in the heavily fortified Green Zone of Baghdad, officials said on Sunday.
Iraqi state media described the attack as an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
In a televised video message, al-Kadhimi said the residence “has come under a cowardly attack, but thank God I and all who work with me are safe.” Al Kadhimi also called for calm and restraint following the attack on Sunday morning.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the attack involved three drones, two of which were shot down by Iraqi security forces, while the third managed to hit the residence. The attack represented the first serious assassination attempt on an Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 US invasion.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi officials in Baghdad who spoke to CBS News pointed to pro-Iranian Shia militias who carried out similar attacks on Baghdad’s green zone, the American Embassy and Erbil Airport.
A source close to the Iraqi prime minister who was not authorized to speak publicly told CBS News that “the nature of the attack, the drone used, and the timing indicate that the same pro-Iran militias had the habit of carrying out attacks on the American Embassy and Erbil International Airport is behind this act. “
The assassination attempt came less than two days after heavily armed pro-Iran militias threatened to hold the prime minister accountable for casualties resulting from a clash between Iraqi security forces and pro-militia protesters protesting against them. recent election results, in which pro-Iran militias suffered serious losses in parliament.
Iraqi security forces guarding the Green Zone, which is home to the seat of the Iraqi government and diplomatic missions, including the United States Embassy, on Friday clashed with protesters alleging electoral fraud and demanding a manual recount of officials. votes. The clash left at least one dead and 127 injured.
Qais al-Khazali, leader of the pro-Iranian militia Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, told protesters they held al-Kadhimi responsible for the bloodshed.
On Sunday, the United Nations, the United States, Iran and other countries condemned the attack on al-Khadimi’s residence as an act of terror. President Biden said he had “instructed my national security team to offer all appropriate assistance to the Iraqi security forces as they investigate this attack and identify those responsible.”
“I am relieved that the Prime Minister was not hurt and salute the leadership he has shown in calling for calm, restraint and dialogue to protect the institutions of the state and strengthen the democracy that Iraqis deserve so much, ”Biden said. “The perpetrators of this terrorist attack on the Iraqi state must be held accountable. I condemn in the strongest terms those who use violence to undermine Iraq’s democratic process.
Several pro-Iranian Iraqi militia leaders have said the attack on the prime minister’s residence could be fabricated and staged to distract from reported deaths of election protesters.