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Iraqi PM says unhurt after drone attack on residence in Baghdad

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi says he is unhurt and appeals for “calm and restraint” after a drone laden with explosives allegedly targeted his residence in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone.

A statement released by the Security Media Cell, affiliated with the Iraqi prime minister’s office, said Kadhimi was subjected to a failed assassination attempt with a booby-trapped drone early Sunday. 

The statement said the drone attack targeted his residence in the Green Zone of Baghdad, but the Iraqi prime minister was “unharmed” and is “in good health.”

Two government officials said Kadhimi’s residence had been hit by at least one explosion. Security sources said six members of Kadhimi’s personal protection force stationed outside his residence had been injured.

This picture shows the aftermath of an attack after a drone laden with explosives allegedly targeted the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad’s Green Zone early on November 7, 2021. (Photo by Iraqi News Agency)

Western diplomats based in the Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, said they heard explosions and gunfire in the area.

“I’m doing fine, praise be to God, and I call for calm and restraint on the part of everyone for the good of Iraq,” the Iraqi prime minister wrote on Twitter after the incident.

Interior Ministry: Three drones involved

Later on Sunday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced that three drones were involved in the assassination attempt.

The director of the Interior Ministry’s media department slammed the targeting of the Arab country’s prime minister as a “terrorist act.”

“The attempt to assassinate the prime minister was made by three drones, and the sound of gunfire that was heard was that of shooting down the drones,” Major General Saad Maan said.

He added that two of the drones were downed.

Maan explained that the third drone attacked the premier’s home but he was not harmed.

Several people present at the prime minister’s house were injured in the attack and are being treated, he said.

The general further said that an extensive investigation was launched to identify the perpetrators.

President Salih: ‘Heinous crime’ against Iraq

Meanwhile, Iraqi President Barham Salih also denounced the failed assassination bid as a serious transgression and a heinous crime against Iraq.

“We do not accept dragging Iraq into chaos and coup against the constitutional order,” Salih wrote in a tweet.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced that it will hunt down anyone who tries to undermine state security.
 
“The security forces are capable of preventing risks,” the command’s spokesman Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji told the Iraqi News Agency on Sunday.

“Security forces are doing their duty and everything is going on as planned,” he stressed.

Influential cleric Sadr slammed the drone attack, describing it as a flagrant onslaught on Iraq and its entire nation.

“The terrorist act against the country’s highest-ranking official is a clear and blatant targeting of Iraq, its nation, security, and stability. It was meant to plunge Iraq into chaos, so that Iraqis would live under the threat of riots, violence, terrorism, and interventions of outsiders,” Sadr said via Twitter.

“Our valiant army troops and heroic security forces must take matters into their own hands, so that Iraq can recover and return strongly,” he said.

The president of Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region censured the “dangerous development.”

“This terrorist act is a dangerous development, which threatens security and stability in the country,” Nechirvan Barzani wrote in a tweet, warning of its serious consequences.

The drone attack, for which no group has claimed responsibility yet, came after protests in the Iraqi capital over the results of last month’s legislative elections turned violent on Friday.

Demonstrators denounced what they called “fraud” in the polls, and clashed with security forces outside Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone.

Gunfire could be occasionally heard on the protest site, with as many as three protesters reported dead and dozens wounded.

According to the Iraqi Health Ministry, 125 people, including 27 civilians and nearly 100 security forces, were injured during the violence.

Iraqi leaders and resistance groups have denounced attacks on people protesting against the results of the October 10 elections, in which Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s party won 73 seats to be the largest group in the country’s 329-strong parliament.

Secretary-General of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Movement said the assassination attempt aimed to disrupt the game a day after the killing of demonstrators, saying he had already warned about attacking the Green Zone and accusing the resistance.

“A few days ago, we warned about the intention of some parties related to the intelligence authorities to attack the Green Zone,” he said.

Khazali called for an investigation by a technical and trusted committee to seriously identify and try the perpetrators of the assassination attempt.

“If this is a real attack, we explicitly condemn it,” he said, adding it appears to be “an attempt to disrupt the game and the situation, one day after the crime of killing demonstrators and torching their tents was perpetrated”.   

‘Assassination attempt must be traced back to foreign think tanks’

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani also reacted to reports about an assassination attempt on the Iraqi prime minister.

“The attempt for al-Kadhimi’s assassination is a new sedition that must be traced back to foreign think tanks, which have brought nothing but insecurity, discord, and instability to the oppressed Iraqi people through the creation and support of terrorist groups and occupation of this country for years,” Shamkhani tweeted.

False flag operation?

Abu Ali al-Askari, a senior commander of the Iraqi anti-terror Kata’ib Hezbollah group, which is part of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), later reacted to the purported assassination attempt on Kadhimi.

“According to our reliable information, no one in Iraq is willing to squander a drone and fly it over the former prime minister’s residence. Playing the victim is a time-worn tactic, which is history now,” he said in a Telegram message on Sunday.

“Even more ridiculous is the fact that he calls on the nation to show restraint and calm. Who should be worried? Who has lost his control?” Askari said.

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