Sadr says Iraqi army must 'take charge' after attack on PM
Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr has called for Iraq's army and security forces to take control of the country following an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi.
In a statement published on Twitter on Sunday, Sadr said that the military “had to take charge of matters, so that Iraq can recover and be strong”.
Kadhimi was targeted by an assassination attempt using explosive drones on Sunday morning. He was unhurt but one of the drones injured members of his security team and caused damage to his home.
The assassination attempt came four weeks after elections where Sairoon, a political coalition led by Sadr, emerged as the largest party in the Iraqi parliament, winning over 70 seats in the 329 seat body.
By contrast the Fatah Alliance, a political coalition linked to pro-Iran militias performed poorly in the elections, gaining only 15 seats. Pro-Iran militias have decried the results, slamming them as a “fraud”.
Their supporters protested outside the Green Zone last Friday, clashing with security forces. At least one person was killed and dozens more wounded.
Sadr, who has had an ambivalent relationship with Iran in the past and is known for changing his political positions, has taken an Iraqi nationalist line in the run-up to the election. His group has drawn support from poorer Shia Iraqis.
In his statement, Sadr did not specify exactly what role he wanted the Iraqi army and security forces to play following the assassination attempt on Kadhimi.
Most of the pro-Iranian Iraqi militias are part of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a powerful state-sponsored umbrella group which operates independently of the army and police.
The militias have committed human rights abuses before and are accused of killing anti-corruption activists and protesters.
However, they have denied any involvement in the attack on Kadhimi.
“The terrorist act which targeted the highest authority in the country is a clear and brazen attack on Iraq and its people, and targets their security and stability, aiming to create chaos,” Sadr said in reference to the attack on Kadhimi’s home.
He said that “non-state forces” wanted to take control of Iraq and force it to live “under the rule of violence, terrorism, and riots, so that danger and foreign intervention from all sides take hold”.
“Our heroic army and the security forces must take charge of matters,” Sadr added.