Lauren Moye, FISM NEWS
Three armed drones targeted the Iraqi prime minister’s residence during the early hours of Sunday. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived the apparent assassination attempt. However, the attack increases tension during what is already a volatile dispute over recent general election results.
Security forces within the Green Zone were able to eliminate two of the drones. The third, reportedly laden with explosives, struck the side of the prime minister’s residence where it caused structural damage to the building and damaged a parked vehicle in the garage.
While Kadhimi was reported to be in good health, security sources told Reuters that six members of the prime minister’s personal security force were wounded. A spokesperson for Iraq’s military commander-in-chief described security within the Green Zone – which also houses government buildings and foreign embassies – as stable.
Kadhimi was later seen chairing a security meeting about the drone attack.
After this meeting, the premier’s office released the following statement: “The cowardly terrorist attack that targeted the home of the prime minister last night with the aim of assassinating him, is a serious targeting of the Iraqi state by criminal armed groups.”
As of now, no group has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt. However, the country is experiencing unrest and increased tension after their Oct. 10 general election, which resulted in a loss of power for several Iranian-backed political parties. Just two days ago, a violent altercation between supporters of these parties and the Iraqi government resulted in the death of at least one demonstrator.
Iraqi security officials have not yet placed blame for the drone attack. An anonymous security official told Reuters, “It’s premature now to say who carried out the attack. We’re checking our intelligence reports and waiting for initial investigation results to point the finger at perpetrators.”
The drone attack was widely condemned. Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted, “We cannot accept that Iraq will be dragged into chaos and a coup against its constitutional system.”
The U.S. offered to help with the investigation. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was directed at the heart of the Iraqi state. We are in close touch with the Iraqi security forces charged with upholding Iraq’s sovereignty and independence and have offered our assistance as they investigate this attack.”
Several leaders within the losing political parties, most of which have militia groups attached and are affiliated with Iran, denounced the attack. They asked for the government to investigate.
Meanwhile, Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani tweeted public condemnation of the attack and called it “a new sedition.”