With a bandage on his left arm and his features drawn, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi appealed for calm and restraint in a video posted on Twitter, on the night of Saturday 6 to Sunday 7 November, after a assassination attempt from which he escaped unscathed. “Cowardly rocket and drone attacks do not build homelands or a future”, he denounced. Shortly before, a trapped drone had exploded within his residence, in the “green zone” of Baghdad, the ultra-protected district of the Iraqi capital which hosts public institutions and embassies, causing several injuries in his close guard. Two other drones were shot down, security sources said.
The assassination attempt sparked a wave of condemnation at home and abroad. Many of Iraq’s partners have denounced a ” terrorist attack “, like US President Joe Biden. “I am relieved that the Prime Minister was not hurt and salute the leadership he has shown in calling for calm, restraint and dialogue to protect the institutions of the state and strengthen the democracy that Iraqis deserve so much “, he said, promising assistance to the Iraqi authorities with their investigation. Through the voice of the Quai d’Orsay, France rejected “Any form of destabilization of the country, violence and intimidation”, while countries in the region have unanimously condemned the operation, including Iran, which called for the “Vigilance to thwart security plots” in Iraq, in an allusion to the United States, their great rival.
“We cannot accept that Iraq is plunged into chaos and that a blow is carried out against the constitutional order”, Iraqi President Barham Saleh said in a tweet. While the attack has not been claimed, suspicion is on the Shiite armed factions linked to Iran, which are contesting the outcome of the October 10 parliamentary elections, in which their political representatives suffered a serious setback. “We know them and we will reveal their identity”, promised the Prime Minister, Sunday evening.
These factions have, for a year, systematized the use of armed drones in their attacks against American interests in Iraq. Some of them cultivate a strong distrust of Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, considered too close to the United States, since he came to power in May 2020. Several attempts by the Prime Minister to prosecute the perpetrators of anti-American attacks or assassinations against demonstrators, in the wake of the anti-power protest movement of October 2019, met with demonstrations of force by Shiite militias.
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Iraqi prime minister escapes attack