Arab countries, Iran denounce drone attack targeted Iraqi PM residence

A combined picture of aftermath of a drone attack that targeted the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad, November 7, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Arab countries and Iran on Sunday condemned a failed assassination attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it stands by Iraq and its people in confronting “all terrorists” truing to prevent the country from restoring its role.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist act that targeted the Iraqi prime minister,” it added.

Kadhimi survived the assassination attempt carried out by a drone laden with explosives that targeted his residence in Baghdad early on Sunday.

Iraqi security media cell said three drones targeted the prime minister’s residence. The security forces managed to shoot down two drones, but the third hit Kadhimi’s house.

The Iraqi military said Kadhimi escaped unhurt but several members of his personnel protection were injured.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi also denounced the attack and called on all parties and political forces in Iraq to calm down and renounce violence.

“The miserable terrorist acts will not discourage Iraq from completing the march of national achievements,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said the attempt was a “a new sedition that must be traced back to foreign think tanks, which have brought nothing but insecurity, discord and instability to oppressed Iraqi people through creation and support of terrorist groups and occupation of this country for years”.

Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the attempt to assassinate Kadhimi did not only target the prime minister but also stability and security in Iraq as well as efforts to strengthen Iraq’s national unity.

Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf also condemned the “heinous assassination attempt” against Kadhimi.

He also affirmed the “categorical rejection of such criminal attacks” that targeted Iraq’s security and stability.

Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirate (UAE) also condemned the drone attack on Kadhimi’s residence, according to Iraqi news agency INA.

Qatari foreign ministry said the assassination attempt was a “terrorist act” and that those involved in the attack must be prosecuted.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Kadhimi’s residence in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

It was the fourth attempted assassination against the premier. In July, Kadhimi said in an interview with al-Hadath channel that he had survived three assassination attempts since he took office last year.

Sunday’s attack came after protests in the Iraqi capital over the result of a general election last month turned violent.

The groups leading protests and complaints about the result of the Oct. 10 vote are heavily-armed Iran-backed militias which lost much of their parliamentary power in the election. They have alleged voting and vote-counting irregularities.

Supporters of Iran-aligned militia groups which have grown their power in parliament and government in recent years have protested the results of the October election.

Protests turned deadly on Friday when the demonstrators tried to enter the Green Zone. Security forces used tear gas and live ammunition. There was an exchange of fire in which one protester affiliated with the militias was killed. Dozens of security forces were injured. Khadimi ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated orders not to open fire.

Some of the leaders of the most powerful militia factions loyal to Iran openly blamed Kadhimi for Friday’s clashes and the protester’s death.

“The blood of martyrs is to hold you accountable,” said Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, addressing Kadhimi at a funeral held for the protester on Saturday, according to AP.

“The protesters only had one demand against fraud in elections. Responding like this [with live fire] means you are the first responsible for this fraud.”

Kadhimi, 54, was Iraq’s former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister in May last year. He is considered by the militias to be close to the U.S., and has tried to balance between Iraq’s alliances with both the U.S. and Iran.

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