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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi managed to survive an assassination attempt at his residence during the early morning hours on Sunday when an explosive-laden drone was detonated, according to reports.
“The drone strike followed clashes in Baghdad between security forces and supporters of pro-Iran militias, who claim to have been victims of electoral fraud in the parliamentary elections held last month,” The New York Times reported. “The pro-Iran groups’ allies lost seats in the vote, and the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc emerged as a big winner.”
The Iraqi government did not identify any suspected attacks and there were no claims of responsibility immediately following the attack.
CNN reported that the Iraqi prime minister was returning from overseeing security forces engage with protesters when the explosive-laden drone targeted his location, injuring some of his personal guards.
“I am fine, praise be to God, and among my people,” al-Kadhimi wrote on Twitter. “The missiles of treachery will not discourage the believers, and not a hair will be shaken in the steadfastness and insistence of our heroic security forces to preserve the security of the people.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price responded to the attack by saying in a statement that the U.S. was monitoring the situation.
“We are relieved to learn the Prime Minister was unharmed,” 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. Our commitment to our Iraqi partners is unshakeable. The United States stands with the government and people of Iraq.”
The Washington Post reported:
Iran-linked armed groups have been blamed for dozens of rocket and drone strikes on the Green Zone and other U.S.-linked military targets in recent years, with the pace often increasing during sensitive political moments.
Iraqi and U.S. officials have grown increasingly alarmed over the recent use of small fixed-wing drones that have evaded detection systems around military bases and diplomatic facilities. Military officials and diplomats say that the drones sometimes fly too low to be picked up by defensive systems.
The Wall Street Journal later reported that a senior Iraqi military officer said on state television that three drones attacked the residence and that security forces managed to shoot down two of them.
This report has been updated to include additional information.