Iraqi PM unharmed after assassination attempt with armed drones – National – .

Iraqi PM unharmed after assassination attempt with armed drones – National – .

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt with armed drones that targeted his residence early on Sunday and officials said he was unharmed. The attack was a major escalation amid tensions sparked by the refusal of Iranian-backed militias to accept the results of last month’s parliamentary elections.

Two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that seven of al-Kadhimi’s security guards were injured in the attack with two armed drones that took place in the heavily fortified Green Zone of Baghdad. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to make official statements.

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“Treasonous rockets will not undermine the steadfastness and determination of heroic security forces at all,” the prime minister tweeted shortly after the attack. “I am well and among my people. Thank God. “

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In a statement, the government said drones attempted to strike al-Kadhimi’s house. Residents of Baghdad heard the sound of an explosion followed by gunfire from the green zone, which houses foreign embassies and government offices.

The statement released by state media said the failed assassination attempt was with “an explosive-laden drone that attempted to target his residence in the Green Zone.”

“The security forces are taking the necessary measures in the context of this failed attempt,” he said.

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It was not clear who was behind the attack, and no one immediately claimed responsibility. It comes amid a standoff between security forces and pro-Iranian Shiite militias whose supporters have camped outside the Green Zone for nearly a month after rejecting the results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections of which they were the most. big losers.

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“The assassination attempt is a dramatic escalation, crossing a line in an unprecedented way that can have violent reverberations,” Ranj Alaaldin, a non-resident member of the Brookings Institution, wrote in a Twitter post.

The protests turned deadly on Friday as protesters marched towards the green zone. There was an exchange of gunfire in which a protester affiliated with the militias was killed. Dozens of security forces were injured. Al-Khadimi ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated orders not to open fire.

Some of the most powerful faction leaders of the militias loyal to Iran openly blamed al-Kadhimi for Friday’s clashes and the protester’s death.

“The blood of the martyrs must hold you responsible,” said Qais al-Khazali, militia leader Asaib Ahl al-Haq, addressing al-Kadhimi at the protester’s funeral. “The protesters had only one demand against election fraud. Responding like this (with live fire) means you are primarily responsible for this fraud. “

The funeral was attended by the leaders of the predominantly Shiite factions backed by Iran who together are known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic.

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Abu Alaa al-Walae, commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, in a tweet apparently addressed to al-Kadhimi who did not name him, told him to forget another term.

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The United States, the UN Security Council and others have praised the October 10 elections, which were conducted for the most part without violence and without major technical glitches.

But after the vote, militia supporters pitched tents near the Green Zone, rejecting the election results and threatening to resort to violence unless their demands for a recount are met.

Unfounded allegations of electoral fraud cast a shadow over the vote. The standoff with militia supporters has also heightened tensions between rival Shiite factions which could reflect in the streets and threaten Iraq’s regained relative stability.

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The election came months ahead of schedule in response to mass protests in late 2019, which saw tens of thousands in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite southern provinces rally against rampant corruption, mediocrity services and unemployment. They also protested against neighboring Iran’s brutal interference in Iraqi affairs through Iranian-backed militias.

The militias have lost some popularity since the 2018 vote, when they made big electoral gains. Many hold them responsible for cracking down on the 2019 protests and challenging state authority.

The biggest gains were made by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who won the most seats in parliament, 73 out of 329. Although he has good relations with Iran, al- Sadr publicly opposes outside interference in Iraqi affairs.

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The protests appeared to be aimed at putting pressure on al-Sadr to ensure that factions aligned with Iran are part of the next cabinet. As the winner, the al-Sadr bloc will seek coalition partners and appoint the prime minister.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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