Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kazimi was unharmed in an “assassination attempt” early Sunday morning with an explosive drone targeting his Baghdad residence.
The action, condemned as an “apparent act of terrorism” by the United States, is the first against Kazimi’s residence, in power since 2020, and occurs in an escalation of tension in the country after the legislative elections on October 10.
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How was the attack on the prime minister of Iraq
According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, three explosive drones attempted to attack Kazimi’s residence.
The three drones “were launched from a place near the bridge of the Republic”, before heading to the Green Zone where the prime minister’s residence is located. They detailed that “two drones were shot down” in flight, while the third exploded its charge against the residence, injuring two of Kazimi’s bodyguards.
Shortly before, two security sources had informed AFP that “a rocket” hit the leader’s residence in the Green Zone, an ultra-protected perimeter located in the center of the capital that houses the US embassy and other government buildings.
The attack was not immediately claimed. A security source said that “two guards from the presidential body were injured.” “I’m fine thank god, and I call for calm and restraint on the part of all for the good of Iraq, ”Kazimi wrote on Twitter shortly after the event.
”My residence has been the target of a cowardly assault. Cowardly missiles and drones don’t build nations“He declared hours later in a short video, where he is seen sitting in his office with a white shirt.
In photos distributed by his office you can see the damage caused: a wooden door and engravings thrown on the ground, or some damaged exterior stairs. “We are relieved to know that the prime minister came out unscathed. This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was aimed at the heart of the Iraqi state, “US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
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“We are in close contact with the Iraqi security forces charged with enforcing the sovereignty and independence of Iraq, and we have offered our help in the investigation,” he added.
After the event, the security forces were deployed in and around that protected perimeter, a security source said. Rocket attacks on the Green Zone are recurrent. Last Sunday, three rockets exploded in Mansour, an adjoining neighborhood, causing no injuries.
The political landscape in Iraq
The attack on Kazimi comes at a time of tension in Iraq after the October 10 legislative elections and in full inter-party transactions with a view to forming a government.
The influential Hashd al Shaabi coalition is vehemently discussing the results of this vote, in which its political wing, the Conquest Alliance, lost numerous seats in Parliament, according to preliminary results.
On Friday, hundreds of pro-Iranian protesters clashed with security forces near the Green Zone. According to a security source, a protester died, while a source from Hashd al Shaabi speaks of “two dead.”
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The supporters of this coalition of former paramilitary groups now integrated into the State began sitting at the two entrances of the Green Zone. Hashd’s management describes the elections as “fraud” and “scam.”
On Friday, Qais al Khazali, leader of one of the main groups that make up Hashd (Asaib Ahl al Haq), warned against “any attempt by actors linked to the intelligence services to bomb the Green Zone and then accuse the factions of the resistance, ”the name given to the pro-Iranians, strongly opposed to the United States. Some Iraqis see Hashd as the hand of Iran in their country and accuse this movement of killings and kidnappings of dissident militants who protested in October 2019.
Despite its electoral collapse, this coalition will continue to be an influential force in Parliament thanks to alliances with other groups and the recruitment of independent deputies. Preliminary results point to the winner of the elections to the Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr, whose current obtained more than 70 seats of the 329 of the camera. The final result of the vote should be published in a few weeks.
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