Iraqi PM chairs security meeting after drone attack on residence
During an official visit to Tehran, Iran by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi Prime Minister.
Handout | Handout | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Officials said that Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi prime minister, escaped from an attack by an armed drone in Baghdad on Sunday. This incident raises tensions in the country, weeks after an election that was disputed by Iran-backed militias.
Kadhimi, who was seen on video by his office Sunday as a chairperson in a meeting with security chiefs to discuss drone attacks, appeared in the footage.
In a statement released following the meeting, the office of the premier stated that “the cowardly terrorist attack on the residence of the prime minister with the intention of assassinating it” was a serious target of the Iraqi government by criminal armed group.
According to security sources, six members of Kadhimi’s personal protection force were injured while they were stationed at his Green Zone residence.
The attack involved three drones, two of which were captured and taken down by security forces, while a third hit the residence. A spokesperson from the interior ministry was quoted as saying that the drones had been used.
After the attack, a spokesperson for the commander of the Armed Forces stated that security was good in the Green Zone (which houses the residence and government buildings as well as foreign embassies) after the incident.
No one group claimed immediate responsibility.
Two days earlier, violence broke out in Baghdad between supporters of Iran-backed parties and government forces. Most of these groups have armies since they lost many seats to parliament in the general election of Oct. 10.
Kadhimi ordered an inquiry into deaths and injuries suffered by demonstrators as well as security personnel during those clashes.
Barham Salih, President of Iraq condemned the atrocious crime. He tweeted, “We can’t accept that Iraq is dragged into chaos & a coup against it constitutional system”
Moqtada al-Sadr (a Shi’ite Muslim cleric) called the attack terrorist because it targeted Iraq’s stability. He said that the attackers wanted to return Iraq to chaos and allow non-state forces to control it.
Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United States all condemned the attack.
Images released by INA show damage to parts of Prime Minister’s Residence and a damaged SUV vehicle parked inside the Garage.
Security forces retrieved the remains of a small, explosive-laden drone to investigate. This was according to Reuters.
“It’s too early to tell who did the attack,” said the security guard on condition anonymity because he is not allowed to speak on security details.
We are currently reviewing our intelligence reports, and we’re waiting to see the initial investigative results that will point fingers at perpetrators.
In a statement, the Iraqi military stated that Kadhimi was attacked at his residence. They also said that he was “good health”. The statement did not provide any further details.
Two officials from the government claimed that Kadhimi’s home had at most one explosion.
Western diplomats stationed in the Green Zone reported hearing explosions and gunfire from the vicinity.
The United States offered their assistance during the investigation.
Ned Price, spokesperson at U.S. State Department said that the apparent terrorist act, which was strongly condemned, was targeted at the heart and soul of the Iraqi government.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said that the attack was “cowardly terrorist”, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported.
Ali Shamkhani (Iran’s highest security officer) condemned the attack and called it “a new form of sedition”.
Protests and complaints over the outcome of the October 10th vote result are being led by heavily-armed Iran-backed militias, which lost much of their parliamentary control in the election. These protesters have made claims about voting irregularities and voter-counting errors, which were denied by country election officials.
On Friday, protesters attacked police near the Green Zone with rocks. This led to several injuries for officers.
According to sources from Baghdad security and hospitals, at least one protestor was killed by police tear gas or live fire.
Analysts who are independent say that the election result was a manifestation of anger at Iran-backed arm groups. They are often accused of being involved in the deaths of almost 600 protesters, many of whom marched in antigovernment demonstrations.