PM Mustafa al-Kadhemi heading a meeting, hours after his residence was targeted by a drone attack.

Iraqi PM escapes ‘assassination attempt’ drone blast

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi escaped unhurt from an “assassination attempt” in which an explosives-packed drone hit his Baghdad residence early Sunday, a new escalation in the country’s post-election turmoil.

US President Joe Biden condemned the “terrorist attack” and said he was “relieved” Kadhemi was not injured, while Iraqi President Barham Saleh said it was an attempted “coup against the constitutional system”.

Kadhemi, 54, and in power since May 2020, appealed for “calm and restraint” before chairing a meeting at his office in the high-security Baghdad Green Zone, where the overnight attack took place.

Gunfire rang out and smoke rose from the Green Zone after the strike, which Kadhemi’s office labelled a “failed assassination attempt”.

Kadhemi said in a short video that “my residence has been the target of a cowardly assault. Praise God, I am fine.”

The Conquest (Fatah) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, suffered a substantial decline in seats, leading it to denounce the outcome as “fraud”.

The United States has around 2,500 troops in the country, and Biden said he had instructed his national security team “to offer all appropriate assistance to Iraq’s security forces as they investigate this attack and identify those responsible.”

Read the article in The Australian (AFP).