U.N. Security Council condemns drone attack on Iraqi PM

Members of the U.N Security Council gather during a meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York on February 26, 2021. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned a drone attack that targeted the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad, calling on all nations to cooperate with the federal government.

Kadhimi survived in what the Iraqi military said an “assassination attempt” by armed drone early on Sunday.

Three drones were used in the attack, according to the interior ministry. Two of them were intercepted and shot down by the security forces, while the third one hit the residence.

In a press statement, the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council “condemned in the strongest terms” the attack.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice,” it said.

It called on all nations to “cooperate actively with the government of Iraq and all other relevant authorities.”

“The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” it said.

On Monday, Reuters cited security officials and sources close to Shia groups as saying that at least one Iran-backed militia group was behind the attack and that the drones and explosives used in the attack were “Iranian-made”.

Two security officials told Reuters that the powerful-Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq groups carried it out in tandem.

One militia source said Kataib Hezbollah was “involved” but he could not confirm the role of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, according to Reuters.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which raised tension in Iraq a few weeks after a general election disputed by Iran-backed militias including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib.

On Sunday, Kataib Hezbollah’s security official Abu Ali al-Askari dismissed suggestions that Iraqi groups were behind the attack.

“According to our confirmed information, no-one in Iraq has the desire to waste a drone on the house of a former prime minister,” Abu Ali Al-Askari, a security official from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, said on Telegram on Sunday.

On Sunday, Kadhimi said during a meeting of the Council of Ministers that he knew “well” who carried out the drone attack and that they would pursue those who were behind it.

An Iraqi official who spoke to The Guardian on Sunday accused the Iraqi Shia militias of carrying out the attack.

“We say the militias did this,” the official said. “We say the Iranians maybe knew. We are not more sure than that.”

Commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force Esmail Qaani arrived in Baghdad late on Sunday and held a meeting with Shia leaders in the Iraqi capital, according to Iraqi media.

Iran was among other countries including U.S., UK, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia that condemned the drone attack.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he had instructed his national security team to offer “all appropriate assistance” to the Iraqi forces as they investigate the attack and identify the perpetrators.

Iraqi President Barham Salih condemned the attack as a heinous crime against Iraq.

“We cannot accept that Iraq will be dragged into chaos and a coup against its constitutional system,” he said in a tweet.

Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose party was the biggest winner in last month’s election, called the attack a terrorist act against Iraq’s stability that aimed to “return Iraq to a state of chaos to be controlled by non-state forces”.

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