Pope condemns attack on Iraqi PM as ‘vile act of terrorism’

Pope Francis waves alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as he arrives at Baghdad International Airport March 5, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Pope Francis on Tuesday condemned a drone attack on the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as a “vile act of terrorism”.

Kadhimi escaped unhurt when three drones carrying explosives were launched at his home in Baghdad on Sunday.

Several of his bodyguards were injured, according to the Iraqi military.

The Vatican said its Secretary of State had sent a message to Kadhimi in the name of the pope, who visited Iraq in March, according to Reuters.

“In condemning this vile act of terrorism, His Holiness once more expresses his confidence that with the blessing of the most high God the people of Iraq will be confirmed in wisdom and strength in pursuing the path of peace through dialogue and fraternal solidarity,” the message 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, 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.

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