Iraq PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi survives ‘assassination attempt’

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt after drones laden with explosives targeted his residence in the capital, Baghdad, in an incident that dramatically raises tension in the country weeks after a general election disputed by Iran-backed militia groups.

Al-Kadhimi escaped unhurt, but security sources told Reuters news agency that at least six members of the prime minister’s personal protection force were wounded in Sunday’s attack.

Security forces in the area shot down two drones while the third managed to hit al-Kadhimi’s residence in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan told state television al-Iraqiya.

“Al-Kadhimi was not harmed, while some people in the house suffered injuries. They are receiving treatment,” the official added without giving details.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Al-Kadhimi appealed for calm and restraint in a post on Twitter.

“I’m doing fine, praise be to God, and I call for calm and restraint on the part of everyone for the good of Iraq,” he said.

He later appeared on Iraqi television, seated behind a desk wearing a white shirt and looking composed. “Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future,” he said.

Iraqi President Barham Salih called the attack a “terrorist aggression” and a “heinous crime” against Iraq.

“This requires unity against the evildoers targeting the security of this country and its people’s safety,” Salih said on Twitter.

The early morning attack came after two days after deadly protests in the Iraqi capital over the result of a general election on October 10.

The groups leading the protests are heavily armed Iran-backed militias that lost much of their parliamentary power in the election. They have alleged voting and vote-counting irregularities.

Violent protests

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Baghdad, said residents of the city heard explosions and gunfire from the Green Zone on Sunday and that security has been tightened in and around the central district.

He also said a spokesman for the pro-Iran militias, known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, has said he was “very sceptical of the assassination attempt, saying that this is just made up by the government in a bid to put blame on the protesters”.

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