Iraq investigating suspicious poisoning of politicians
Mala Bakhtiar, who heads the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), claimed an assassination attempt against him was carried out by "comrades" in his own party. He claims there have been numerous attempts to end his life.
Bakhtiar had to be transported to Germany last week after being poisoned but is now in stable condition. He was a presidential candidate in 2018.
Hours after falling ill, Wasta Hassan Nuri, a PUK member and former director of the Asayish - the leading security and intelligence agency in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region -was also poisoned.
His condition has also stabilised.
Lawmaker Yasser Al-Husseini from southern Iraq’s Babil governorate was also reportedly poisoned. He won a seat in the recent parliamentary elections and his son died as a result of the poisoning.
Another member of his family is still being treated.
"Al-Husseini is considered one of the independent figures with a good reputation and won a decent number of votes… political rivalries are no longer honourable in Iraq, starting with forgery and ending with murder," former Babil MP, Sadiq Al-Muhanna, said in remarks to The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
He said although it has not been proven yet that this was an assassination attempt, he expected more of these incidents to happen in the country.
An official at the Iraqi interior ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that it is following up on investigations with security services in both Kurdistan’s Sulaymaniyah and Babil.
The ministry has not ruled out the possibility that the incidents could be assassination attempts.
"It has not yet been proven that these were assassination (attempts), it is still speculation, and we are waiting for blood test results to find out," the official said.
Legal expert Ali Al-Tamimi said these types of crimes are often committed by people close to the victims.
He told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the perpetrators could face the death penalty if caught and found guilty of murder.