Assassination attempt against Iraqi PM complicates political scene

The failed assassination attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister (PM), Mustafa al-Kadhimi, on Sunday complicated the political scene in the country, as the attack ramped the tension sparked by followers of parties rejecting the results of the October 10 early election.

The assassination attempt took place before dawn when a booby-trapped drone landed on the residence of al-Kadhimi in the heavily fortified Green Zone in the center of the capital, but the prime minister escaped unhurt. 

In a tweet on his official page, al-Kadhimi said he was “fine” and called for “calm and restraint from everyone for the sake of Iraq.” 

Later in the day, al-Kadhimi confirmed in a video posted on his official Twitter page that he and other workers at his residence are safe, stressing that “cowardly missiles and drones do not build a homeland or a future.” 

Hours after the attack, al-Kadhimi, also commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, resumed his daily activities and held a meeting with Ministerial Council for National Security to discuss the drone attack on his residence.

Saad Maan, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, said that the attack was carried out by three drones, and the security forces managed to shoot down two near the Green Zone, but the third hit al-Kadhimi’s residence. 

Iraqi security forces intensified security measures and were deployed in some areas of the capital, in addition to blocking the entrances of the Green Zone which houses some of the main offices of the Iraqi government and foreign embassies. 

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, although suspicion fell on Iran-backed militias who have been at odds with al-Kadhimi.

The assassination attempt came amid the ongoing protests by followers of political parties rejecting last month’s election results. 

On Friday, the protests escalated to a clash with the security forces at the entrances of the Green Zone, killing two protesters and wounding dozens of security members and protesters. 

In the parliamentary elections on October 10, the Sadrist Movement, led by prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, took the lead with more than 70 seats, while the al-Fatah (Conquest) Coalition, which includes some of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, garnered 17 seats compared with 47 in the 2018 elections. 

Political parties unsatisfied with the results said the elections were manipulated and they would not accept the “fabricated results.” -Xinhua

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