Iran-backed militia behind attack on Iraqi prime minister: security officials

A drone attack that targeted the Iraqi prime minister on Sunday was carried out by at least one Iranian-backed militia group, Iraqi security officials and sources close to the militias said.

The sources, who spoke to Reuters on Monday on condition of anonymity, said the drones and explosives used in the assault were Iranian-made.

A spokesman for an Iranian-aligned paramilitary group declined to immediately comment on the attack or who carried it out. Other Iranian-backed groups could not be immediately reached for comment. The Iranian government in Tehran did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped unscathed from the attack on his residence in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which was carried out using explosive-laden drones.

Two Iraqi security officials and three sources close to the militia groups Iran has supported in Iraq said the attack was carried out by at least one of those groups, but gave slightly different assessments of exactly which factions.

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite armed groups burn portraits of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi and Iraqi security officials during a protest against the election results near one of the fortified entrances to the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, on November 6. from 2021 (credit: REUTERS / THAIER AL-SUDANI)

The two security officials said the powerful Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq groups carried it out together.

A source in the militia said Kataib Hezbollah was involved and could not confirm Asaib’s role.

Neither group immediately commented for the record.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which raised tension in Iraq a few weeks after a general election disputed by Iranian-backed militias, including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib.

Political parties representing Iranian-aligned paramilitary groups in parliament suffered crushing defeats at the polls on October 10, losing dozens of the seats they have controlled for several years.

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