Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt after an armed drone targeted his home in Baghdad in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Kadhimi was unharmed however seven of his security guards were injured according to two officials who spoke to AP. The Iraqi intelligence have launched an investigation into the attack, no group has claimed responsibility.
“I am fine and among my people. Thank God,” the prime minister said in a tweet following the attack and called for calm and restraint, “for the sake of Iraq”.
“Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future,” he said later during a televised address.
Images have been published by state news agency INA, showing damage to parts of Kadhimi’s residence located in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, a damaged SUV vehicle parked in a garage can also be seen.
The attack reportedly involved two other drones; they were, however, intercepted by security forces. It also comes two days after violent clashes erupted in Baghdad between government forces and supporters of pro-Iranian political parties, many of which have armed wings over disputed results in last month’s general election, which saw the latter lose much of their parliamentary power.
During an exchange of fire, one of the demonstrators was killed, leading to some of the militias openly placing blame on Kadhimi for the death. “The blood of martyrs will hold you accountable,” said Qais Al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militia, referring to the prime minister at a funeral held for the protester.
Kadhimi who served as Iraq’s intelligence chief prior to becoming prime minister last year has tried to create balance between US and Iran’s competing interests and influence in the country. However, for the Iranian-backed militias, he is considered as being too close to the US and has been accused of passing on information of slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and co-founder of Kataib Hezbollah (KH), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis to the US.