Iraqi prime minister survives assassination attempt

Al-Kadhimi took to Twitter moments after the attack, calling for “everyone’s calm and restraint.”

“Thank God, I’m fine and among my people,” he tweeted on his official account.

He called the missile and drone strikes cowards, saying they work against a better future for the country. Al-Kadhimi called for a calm and constructive dialogue “for the good of Iraq and the future of Iraq.”

“I was and continue to be a project of redemption for Iraq and the people of Iraq. The missiles of treason will not discourage believers and will shake the stability and determination of our heroic security forces to preserve the safety of the people, achieve the justice and establish the law in its place, “he said.

Three drones were involved in the assassination attempt, according to Interior Ministry spokesman General Saad Maan, speaking to the state-run Al-Iraqiya news network. Security forces were able to shoot down two of the drones, Maan said.

The Iraqi army said that Al-Kadhimi was unharmed and in good health, and that the security forces were “taking the necessary measures in relation to this failed attempt.”

Debris is seen outside the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Khadimi in Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday from the drone strike that targeted him.

A source close to the Iraqi leader said Sunday that Al-Kadhimi was returning from supervising security forces involved in a clash with protesters at the southern gate of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area of ​​Baghdad where the prime minister’s residence and other Government and diplomatic buildings are located at the time of the drone attack.

As he was entering his residence, a booby-trapped drone targeted that location, injuring some of the guards at his residence and causing minor damage, the source said.

The US State Department condemned the “apparent act of terrorism” in a statement Sunday. “We are in close contact with the Iraqi security forces charged with defending the sovereignty and independence of Iraq and have offered our assistance as they investigate this attack,” said spokesman Ned Price.

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The president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, also issued a statement condemning the failed assassination attempt, calling it a “terrorist act” marking a “dangerous development that threatens security and stability in the country. country and portends dire consequences. “

“I invite you all to exercise restraint and calm down,” KRG Chairman Nechirvan Barani said in a statement early Sunday morning.

The influential Shiite Muslim cleric and leader of the powerful Sadrist Movement Moqtada al-Sadr called the incident a “terrorist act” that “returns [Iraq] to a state of chaos to be controlled by non-governmental forces, so that Iraq lives under the pain of riots, violence and terrorism, so that dangers and interventions from abroad sweep it away from here and there ”.

As a result of the attempt, he said, “our brave army and heroic security forces must take matters into their own hands until Iraq recovers and returns in strength.”

Al-Sadr and his coalition won more than 70 seats in Iraq’s parliamentary elections held two weeks ago, gaining significant numbers since the last elections in 2018, when they won 54 seats.

No one has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt, but it comes amid increased tension in the capital.

On Friday, one person was killed and dozens injured after supporters of Iranian-backed militias clashed with Iraqi security forces near the Green Zone, health officials told CNN.

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Parties representing Iranian-backed militias called for protests after losing seats in parliament during Iraq’s elections last month, angering militia leaders and sparking several protests and sit-ins in recent weeks.

Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups in Iraq, denied any involvement in the prime minister’s assassination attempt on Sunday, while questioning the government’s view of the attack in a statement issued by Speaker Abu Ali. al-Askari.

Al-Askari said Al-Kadhimi is “playing the victim”, adding that there are “less expensive” and more guaranteed ways to harm the prime minister, if that is the goal.

“Isn’t it ironic that he asks for restraint and calm, so who should be worried? Who has lost control of himself?” al-Askari said in a statement Sunday.

In a boundless jab to the prime minister, al-Askari added: “May God curse you and those who help you.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani condemned the assassination attempt and said in a tweet on Sunday that the incident must “be traced to foreign expert groups (or agencies)” who “have not brought in more than insecurity, discord, and instability for the oppressed Iraqi people through the creation and support of terrorist groups and the occupation of this country for years. ”

CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh, Mayumi Maruyama and Ramin Mostaghim contributed to this report.

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