Life goes on in Baghdad after failed assassination attempt on PM

An explosive-laden drone hit Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi’s residence in the Iraqi capital

Life in Baghdad carried on as normal on Sunday despite worsening tension after a failed attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi with a bomb-laden drone.

Baghdad’s streets were largely quiet, with normal traffic, and commercial areas and government offices have not been closed or disrupted.

But Iraq’s US-trained special forces units have moved to secure the Green Zone, which contains the Cabinet, foreign embassies and officials’ residences.

Riot police have been sent to guard the entrances to the fortified enclave, where the attack on Mr Al Kadhimi’s home occurred and where protests against the result of last month’s election turned violent on Friday.

Nazar Mohammed Ali opened his clothing shop in Baghdad’s Karrada area at 10am as usual, saying there was nothing to fear.

“We get used to such bad news,” Mr Ali, 44, told The National.

Standing outside his store, he said he was “not surprised” Mr Al Kadhimi had been a target.

“I do believe that we are going to see more stuff like that in coming days,” he said.

“The losers in the elections – mainly the militias – want to take Iraq to the unknown for the sake of their own interests.

“What happened is proof that they don’t believe in democracy and that they intend to take anything they want by using weapons.”

For prominent blogger Salih Al Hamdani, the attack amounted to “sedition” that threatens to “drag the country into an armed conflict over [parliament] seats”.

Such developments, he wrote on Facebook, “are being closely watched by Daesh, who knows very well how to exploit it maliciously”.

Others said they were shocked by the latest developments.

“Regardless who was behind it, this is a dangerous escalation,” said a Baghdad taxi driver who asked to remain anonymous.

“That’s the result of impunity in this country,” he said. “We are entering a new era in which we are settling political disputes with arms.”

Three explosive-laden drones entered the Green Zone area at about 2.30am on Sunday, security sources told The National.

Two of the drones were shot down, but the third hit Mr Al Kadhimi’s home with rockets, injuring the prime minister and at least five of his guards, the sources said.

Tension is rising between Iran-backed Shiite militias and the prime minister after protests against the results of October’s elections turned violent on Friday.

Two protesters, including a high-ranking militia leader, are believed to have been killed and more than 100 protesters and security personnel were wounded.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday.

Updated: November 7th 2021, 4:42 PM
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