Iraqi politicians, groups react to PM assassination attempt

Several Iraqi politicians and groups have reacted to the purported assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday. The PM has announced he was not hurt in the incident.

Al-Kadhimi has announced he is unhurt and appeals for “calm and restraint” after a drone laden with explosives allegedly targeted his residence in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.

A statement released by the Security Media Cell, affiliated with the Iraqi prime minister’s office, said Kadhimi was subjected to a failed assassination attempt with a booby-trapped drone early Sunday.

The statement added the drone attack targeted his residence in the Green Zone of Baghdad, but the Iraqi prime minister was “unharmed” and is “in good health”.

Two government officials stated Kadhimi’s residence had been hit by at least one explosion. Security sources noted several members of Kadhimi’s personal protection force stationed outside his residence had been injured.

Iraqi President Barham Salih denounced the failed assassination bid as a serious transgression and a heinous crime against Iraq.

“We do not accept dragging Iraq into chaos and coup against the constitutional order,” Salih wrote in a tweet.

Influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr slammed the drone attack, describing it as a flagrant onslaught on Iraq and its entire nation.

“The terrorist act against the country’s highest-ranking official is a clear and blatant targeting of Iraq, its nation, security, and stability. It was meant to plunge Iraq into chaos, so that Iraqis would live under the threat of riots, violence, terrorism, and interventions of outsiders,” Sadr said via Twitter.

“Our valiant army troops and heroic security forces must take matters into their own hands, so that Iraq can recover and return strongly,” he added.

The president of Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region has also censured the “dangerous development”.

“This terrorist act is a dangerous development, which threatens security and stability in the country,” Nechirvan Barzani wrote in a tweet, warning of its serious consequences.

Abu Ali al-Askari, a senior commander of the Iraqi anti-terror Kata’ib Hezbollah group, which is part of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), said, “According to our reliable information, no one in Iraq is willing to squander a drone and fly it over the former prime minister’s residence. Playing the victim is a time-worn tactic, which is history now.”

“Even more ridiculous is the fact that he calls on the nation to show restraint and calm. Who should be worried? Who has lost his control?” Askari added.

A spokesperson for Iraq’s Sadiqoun political bloc said the alleged assassination attempt on al-Kadhimi could have been staged to distract from the reported deaths of election demonstrators.

In a series of posts on Sunday, Mahmoud Al-Rubaie claimed that the incident could be a false flag operation to cover up the government’s crackdown on people protesting the results of the recent parliamentary election.

“My expectation is [that] it is a fabricated explosion… with the aim of covering up yesterday’s crimes and preoccupying public opinion,” Al-Rubaie said in a statement.

Al-Rubaie added the US air defense systems failed to thwart the attack, which took place within Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the prime minister’s residence and foreign diplomatic compounds are located.

The authorities were “not able to present a convincing scenario” of Sunday’s events, he tweeted.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced that it will hunt down anyone who tries to undermine state security.

“The security forces are capable of preventing risks,” the command’s spokesman Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji told the Iraqi News Agency on Sunday.

“Security forces are doing their duty and everything is going on as planned,” he stressed.

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