Iran Quds Force chief meets Iraqi PM in Baghdad after assassination attempt: Report
The head of Iran’s Quds Force, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, arrived in Baghdad on Sunday where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi whose residence was attacked earlier the same day, a pro-Iran TV station reported on Monday.
Ghaani urged against “any action that threatens the security of Iraq” during his meetings with al-Kadhimi and other Iraqi figures, Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV reported citing unnamed sources.
The Quds Force, which Ghaani heads, is the arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that controls its allied militias abroad, including in Iraq.
Al-Kadhimi escaped unharmed after a drone laden with explosives targeted his residence in Baghdad early on Sunday in what officials called an attempted assassination. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Citing Iraqi security officials and sources close to Iran-backed militias, Reuters reported on Monday the attack on al-Kadhimi was carried out by at least one Iran-backed militia group using Iranian-made drones and explosives.
Ghaani “stressed the need to meet the demands of the people and protesters legally,” al-Mayadeen said, in reference to supporters of Iran-backed militias that are contesting last month’s election result.
The attack on al-Kadhimi came two days after clashes in Baghdad between government forces and supporters of Iran-backed groups that lost about two-thirds of their parliamentary seats following the October 10 vote.
“What pro-Iran forces did not win at the ballot-box, they are trying to take through intimidation and escalation,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said.
Al-Kadhimi said on Sunday that those behind the attack were well known and would be exposed.
“The use of drones, coupled with the political backdrop of protests should be a dead giveaway as to who was behind the attack,” Ben Taleblu said, referring to Iran.
“The recent assassination attempt exposes the importance of having a counter Iran strategy in the region, which is currently missing in action. It also underscores the imperative of countering and defeating the Iran-backed drone threat in the Middle East,” he added.