Iraqi PM tours Baghdad area days after assassination attempt

Prime Minister Al Kadhimi makes first public appearance since drone attack on his home on Sunday

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi on Wednesday toured a Baghdad neighbourhood on foot, days after an assassination attempt at his home in the capital.

In his first public appearance outside his home since the attack, residents of the eastern neighbourhood of Sadr City congratulated Mr Al Kadhimi for surviving Sunday’s drone attack, his office said.

The failed attempt increased tension after last month’s parliamentary elections, in which Iran-backed militias were the biggest losers.

There was no claim of responsibility but suspicion immediately fell on the militias. They had been blamed for earlier attacks on the Green Zone, which also houses foreign embassies.

Analysts have suggested that Sunday’s attack was staged by those who lost in the recent election and was aimed at preventing a second term for Mr Al Kadhimi.

Sadr City is a stronghold of influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, whose nationalist movement won the largest number of seats in Parliament, 73 out of 329.

Mr Al Sadr publicly opposes external interference in Iraq’s affairs by the US and Iran.

Sadr City was named after his late father, Mohammed Al Sadr, who was shot dead along with two of his sons in the southern city of Najaf in 1999, when Iraq was under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Mr Al Kadhimi on Wednesday called for a reconstruction campaign in Sadr City, where explosions and suicide attacks have left hundreds of people dead or wounded over the years.

He said the campaign could be followed by a move to rebuild Baghdad and other provinces.

Mr Al Kadhimi on Sunday suffered a light cut and appeared in a televised speech soon after the attack wearing a white shirt and what appeared to be a bandage around his left wrist.

Seven of his security guards were wounded in the attack, in which two of three armed drones were brought down by security services.

Mr Al Kadhimi, 54, was Iraq’s former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister in May last year.

He is considered by the militias to be close to Washington, and has tried to balance Iraq’s alliances with the US and Iran.

Updated: November 10, 2021, 10:19 PM