Senior Iraqi intelligence officer assassinated in Baghdad
A senior Iraqi intelligence officer was assassinated in east Baghdad on Monday morning, the second incident of its kind in the past three months.
Security sources said that an unknown gunmen shot a colonel in the intelligence services as he was commuting to work in the Baladiyat area of Baghdad. He died shortly afterward.
One security source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that the gunmen then fled to an unknown location. He said that security and intelligence services had opened an investigation and were examining surveillance camera footage from the scene.
At the end of last March, another senior intelligence officer was killed by gunmen in the Mansour area of central Baghdad.
Pro-Iranian Iraqi militias had previously accused the Iraqi intelligence services of complicity with US forces in the killing of Iranian Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani and a leader in the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes in an airstrike near Baghdad Airport in January 2020.
Iraq's current prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was previously director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) and remains its de-facto head.
Iraqi analysts have said the targeting of senior intelligence officers represents a direct challenge to Al-Kadhimi's authority.
Saad Al-Hadithi, an Iraqi security expert, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, that the way the assassination was carried out in the heavily-fortified Baladiyat area and that the gunmen were able to flee the scene unchallenged points to the involvement of militias.
Pro-Iran militias have previously launched rocket and drone attacks at bases where US forces were present and Hadithi said this incident indicated a possible new style of confrontation with the government.