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Qatar condemns ‘terrorist’ assassination attempt targeting Iraqi PM

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No group claimed the attack as leaders call for calm and restraint.

Qatar condemned an assassination attempt that targeted Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Sunday, describing it as a “terrorist act”.

In a statement released by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, the Gulf state stressed the need to prosecute those involved in the assault while reiterating its support for Iraq’s unity, stability and sovereignty.

Al-Kadhimi escaped his residence in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone – where many foreign embassies are located – unharmed after it was targeted by three armed drones.

However, sources told Reuters that six members of his personal protection force were wounded.

According to Iraq’s state news agency [INA], two of the drones were intercepted and thwarted by security forces but a third hit Al-Kadhimi’s residence.

No group has yet claimed the attack.

Security forces are currently investigating the incident as well as analysing remains of a small explosive-laden drone used in the assault

Qatar attends Iraq summit urging ‘recovery of stolen funds’

“We’re checking our intelligence reports and waiting for initial investigation results to point the finger at perpetrators,” a security official told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Al-Kadhimi later took to Twitter shortly before appearing on Iraqi television, calling for calm and restraint while assuring the public of his wellbeing.

In a televised address, the prime minister said that “cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future”.

President Barham Salih also slammed the ambush as a crime against Iraq, saying that the country cannot be “dragged into chaos and a coup against its constitutional system”.

The US joined in global condemnations of the attack and offered assistance with the investigation.

“This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was directed at the heart of the Iraqi state,” US spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq [UNAMI] also denounced it in a statement and joined in with calls for calm while expressing its solidarity with Iraqis.

“Terrorism, violence and unlawful acts must not be allowed to undermine Iraq’s stability and derail its democratic process,” read the UNAMI’s statement.

Baghdad clashes

The latest development came two days after clashes erupted in Baghdad between government forces and those supporting Iran-backed political parties after the latter lost dozens of seats in parliament post a general election in October.

Several deaths and injuries were reported among demonstrators and security forces, with an investigation currently looking into the casualties.

The parties that won in the elections included Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has long expressed his opposition towards Iranian interference in Iraq’s politics.

Reuters reported earlier that the investigation committee will be looking into the security of the Popular Mobilisation Forces [PMF], a state-sanctioned organisation consisting of majority Shia militias backed by Iran.

Since the overthrow of former leader Saddam Hussein in 2003 by the US, there have been several alliances in Iraq’s parliament that comprise of both Sunnis and Iraqi Kurds.

Iraq ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, as per the Transparency International index. Currently it ranks 160 out of 180 countries.

Fighting corruption has been among the key demands by millions of Iraqis who flocked to the streets during the 2019 protests. Civilians also demonstrated against unemployment and a lack of basic services.

Iraq has struggled for years since the US invasion, in which the country’s health ministry said at least 151,000 were killed between 2003 and 2006. However, the total number of civilian casualties remains disputed.

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