Damage at the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister. November 7, 2021

Iran-Backed Militia Behind Attack On Iraqi PM, Sources Say


A drone attack that targeted the Iraqi prime minister on Sunday was carried out by at least one Iranian-backed militia group, Reuters reported on Monday.

The Iraqi security sources and sources close to the militias, who spoke to Reuters on Monday on condition of anonymity, said the drones and explosives used in the assault were Iranian-made.

A spokesperson for one Iran-aligned paramilitary group declined to comment immediately on the attack or on who carried it out. Other Iranian-backed groups could not be reached immediately for comment.

The Iranian government in Tehran did not immediately respond to requests for comment. On Sunday, Tehran condemned the attack and the official media tried to distance Iran from the incident, claiming that it was a plot against “resistance forces” in Iraq.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped unhurt from the attack on his residence in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which was carried out using explosives-laden drones.

Two Iraqi security officials and three sources close to the militia groups that Iran has supported in Iraq said the attack was committed by at least one of those groups but gave slightly different assessments of exactly which factions.

The two security officials said that the powerful Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq groups carried it out in tandem.

One militia source said that Kataib Hezbollah was involved and that he could not confirm the role of Asaib.

Neither of those groups immediately commented for the record.

The incident could be seen as another sign of Iran’s interventionist regional policies that for years have alarmed some Arab states and the West.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which raised tension in Iraq a few weeks after a general election disputed by Iran-backed militias including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib.

The political parties that represent Iran-aligned paramilitary groups in parliament suffered crushing defeats at the polls on October 10, losing dozens of the seats they have controlled for several years.

On Friday their supporters targeted security forces guarding Baghdad’s green zone by throwing stones and injuring some servicemen. Security forces opened fire at the protesters and at least one was killed.

The Iran-backed armed militias do not like the prime minister who tries to maintain a balance between the Washington and Tehran and has good relations with the West.

The election defeat comes as the Islamic Republic boasts to its domestic audience about the influence of its Shiite ideology in neighboring Iraq. Iranian critics of the clerical regime say that after spending billions of dollars to gain influence in a Shiite-majority country, the people reject its local allies and its presence.

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