Baghdad, 7 November 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt in a drone attack, the Iraqi army said on Sunday, amid unrest in the country against results of parliamentary polls held last month.
The attack by an explosives-laden drone targeted al-Kadhimi’s residence in the Green Zone in the capital Baghdad, the military-linked Security Media Centre added, according to Iraq’s state news agency INA.
“The prime minister did not suffer any harm and he is in good health,” the media centre said.
“Security forces are taking the necessary measures regarding this failed attempt,” it added without mentioning details.
Shortly afterwards, al-Kadhimi said he is fine and called for calm and self-restraint.
“I’m fine, thank God among my people,” he tweeted.
“I call for calm and self-restraint from everyone for Iraq,” al-Kadhimi added.
Later, al-Kadhimi issued a televised statement confirming he is fine.
“My house came under a treacherous aggression. I am and those working with me are in a very good condition,” said al-Kadhimi, who took office in May last year.
“Treacherous missiles and drones do not build countries and future,” he added as he spoke next to the Iraqi flag.
“We are working to build our country through respecting the state and its institutions as well as establishing a better future for all Iraqis.”
Al-Kadhimi also called for an “objective and constructive dialogue” in Iraq.
The state news agency posted images purportedly showing damage resulting from the attack.
So far, there has been no claim of responsibility.
At least five of al-Kadhimi’s bodyguards were injured in the attack, the regional Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya TV reported.
The UN mission in Iraq said it condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
“Terrorism, violence and unlawful acts must not be allowed to undermine Iraq’s stability and derail its democratic process,” the statement said.
The incident comes amid protests in Iraq against results of last month’s parliamentary elections in which pro-Iranian groups made significant losses.
On Friday, clashes erupted between hundreds of demonstrators, protesting against results of the October 10 parliamentary polls, and security forces near the Green Zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies in Baghdad.
The results of the vote showed that a bloc led by influential Muslim Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr won 73 seats, maintaining its position as the largest group in Iraq’s 329-strong parliament.
Al-Sadr Sunday condemned the attack on the premier’s residence as a “terrorist act”, saying on Twitter it targeted Iraq’s security and stability.
An alliance of nine groups, linked to pro-Iranian militias, have rejected the results and encouraged their followers to protest. Some of the blocs gained fewer seats than they got in 2018.
After several complaints, the election commission ordered a manual recount of votes in some areas and it is yet to confirm the final results.
The election, staged months ahead of schedule, came amid widespread frustration with Iraq’s political elite.
Al-Kadhimi had brought forward the vote in response to months-long street protests led by youth in favour of reform.
Oil-rich Iraq has been struggling with an economic and political crisis for years.