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Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s prime minister, narrowly avoids drone murder attempt

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi was unharmed in an “assassination attempt” on his Baghdad apartment early Sunday (7 November), signaling a new escalation in the country’s post-election instability.

President Joe Biden of the United States condemned the “terrorist attack” and expressed relief that Kadhemi was unharmed, while Iraqi President Barham Saleh called it a “coup against the constitutional system.”

No one claimed responsibility for the incident

Before chairing a meeting at his office in the high-security Baghdad Green Zone, where the nocturnal attack occurred, Kadhemi, 54, pleaded for “calm and moderation.”

According to security sources, three drones were fired from near a Tigris River bridge, but two were intercepted, and two guards were injured.

After the attack, which Kadhemi’s office described as a “failed assassination attempt,” gunfire rang out, and smoke ascended from the Green Zone.

Biden slammed “those who use violence to undermine Iraq’s democratic process” in the strongest possible terms.

Attack began two days after security personnel battled with supporters of Iran-backed parties

Debris was strewn on the ground beneath a broken outside stairwell and a loosened door, according to photos released by Kadhemi’s office.

“My residence has become the victim of a cowardly assault,” Kadhemi stated in a brief video. I’m fine, thank God.”

The attack began two days after security personnel battled with supporters of Iran-backed parties who claimed they were victims of vote irregularities in the parliament election on October 10th.

The Conquest (Fatah) Alliance, the political wing of the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, saw a significant drop in seats, prompting them to call the election a “fraud.”

Attack “seriously condemned” by NATO and British Prime Minister

Qais al-Khazali, the chairman of Assaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the Hashed key pro-Iran factions, asked for the criminals to be “brought to justice” after the drone assault.

Around 2,500 US troops are stationed in the country, according to Biden, who also stated that he had authorized his national security staff to do so, “to offer all appropriate assistance to Iraq’s security forces as they investigate this attack and identify those responsibly.”

The attack was “seriously condemned” by NATO and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while the European Union stated the attackers “must be held accountable.”

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, urged Iraqis to “show extreme patience and condemn all violence and all attempts to destabilize Iraq.”

Khatibzadeh called for “vigilance to foil plans targeted at the security and development” of Iraq

Said Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, called for “vigilance to foil plans targeted at the security and development” of Iraq.

He pointed the finger at the United States, which spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, toppling ruler Saddam Hussein and igniting years of sectarian strife.

“Such incidents are in the interest of those who have violated the stability, security, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq over the past 18 years,” stated Khatibzadeh.

“They have sought to achieve their sinister regional goals by creating terrorist groups that seek to cause sedition.”

Attack condemned in unity

Regional superpower Saudi Arabia and other Gulf governments, as well as Jordan and Syria, and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, all condemned the attack.

The drone assault was criticized as “against Iraq and the Iraqi people” by Moqtada Sadr, a prominent Shiite Muslim preacher whose political movement was the main election winner.

The incident was “obviously linked to the government formation process,” according to Chatham House analyst Renad Mansour.

Tensions rising

The strike took place amid rising tensions over the elections, which are the fifth since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Hundreds of Hashed followers clashed with police in the Green Zone on Friday to express their displeasure with the preliminary results.

As per a security source, one demonstrator died in hospital from his injuries, while two demonstrators were slain, according to a Hashed source.

On Saturday, hundreds of pro-Iranian activists gathered on the outside of the Green Zone to demonstrate, with some burning a portrait of the prime minister, whom they described as a “criminal.”

The results of the election will be known in a few weeks. 

Kadhemi moved the election forward from next year

In response to anti-government protests about pervasive corruption, unemployment, failing public services, and Iran’s influence, Kadhemi moved the election forward from next year.

Activists criticize the Hashed’s armed forces of being beholden to Iran and operating as a tool of tyranny against critics, even though the Hashed’s 160,000 warriors have now been merged into Iraq’s national security forces.

In Iraq, further drone attacks have happened in recent months, primarily against American interests.


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