Pro-Iranian militias mock assassination attempt on Iraqi PM
Pro-Iranian Iraqi militias have reacted with mockery to news of an assassination attempt on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the attack was carried out with three explosive-laden drones, which were launched on Kadhimi's house in the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, where Iraqi government offices and the US embassy are based.
Two of the drones were shot down while one caused material damage to Kadhimi's house and injured members of his security team, although the premier was unhurt.
The attack came after violent protests by supporters of the militias outside the Green Zone against recent election results which saw parties aligned with them perform poorly. At least one person was killed and dozens more injured.
The militias however have denied any involvement in the event and took to Telegram and other social media platforms to pour scorn on the official version of events, according to the Iraqi Kurdish news network Rudaw.
Abu Ali al-Askari, a senior commander of the pro-Iran Kataeb Hezbollah militia, said on Telegram that there were "less expensive and more secure" ways to kill the prime minister.
"According to our confirmed information, no one in Iraq has even the desire to lose a drone over the house of a former prime minister," Al-Askari added, according to Rudaw.
The pro-Iran militias have previously used drones and rockets to target bases where US troops were present.
Rudaw also reported that Mohammed Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the political wing of the Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq militia, described the assassination attempt as a "made-up explosion".
"I believe it is a made-up explosion – hot air with the aim of covering up yesterday’s crimes and inflaming public opinion," he said on Twitter, in reference to the killing and wounding of pro-militia protesters.
On Telegram, the Sabereen news channel, which is close to the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) umbrella group of pro-Iran militias, mockingly called the prime minister "a living martyr" and published a pictures of a flying elephant, captioning it "Photos of the drone shortly before it fell".
The Sabereen Telegram channel later claimed that pictures of the drones published by the Iraqi government were in fact from months before.