Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt after drones were laden with explosives targeting his residence in the capital, Baghdad, in an incident that has escalated tension in the country weeks following general election disputed by Iran-backed militia groups.
Al-Kadhimi was rescued unhurt, but security sources reported to the Reuters news agency that at least six members of the prime minister’s personal protection force had been injured in the attack.
The 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 mentioned without giving further details.
No group had 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 tweeted.
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.
Meanwhile, Iran’s top security official, Ali Shamkhani, condemned Sunday’s attack, calling it “a new sedition”.
“The attempt … is a new sedition that must be traced back to foreign think-tanks,” he said on Twitter, without giving further details.
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq also condemned in the “strongest terms the assassination attempt” against Kadhimi. In a statement, UNAMI said: “Terrorism, violence and unlawful acts must not be allowed to undermine Iraq’s stability and derail its democratic process.”