The EU, U.K. and NATO have joined the U.S. in condemning an explosive-laden drone attack early Sunday targeting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s home — the latest sign of rising tensions following the country’s recent elections.
While al-Kadhimi was unharmed in the strike, six members of his personal security force were injured, according to news reports.
In statements, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg all backed Iraq’s government and security forces as they condemned the assault and called for a cessation of violence. The trio stopped short of the U.S. State Department, however, which directly branded the incident an “apparent act of terrorism.”
“NATO supports the Iraqi defence and security institutions as they fight terrorism and uphold their country’s independence and sovereignty,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt, but it comes as Iran-backed militia groups are protesting the apparent outcome of Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month. The initial results, which are not yet finalized, indicate significant losses for the political arm of the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, and gains for Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement.
“Calm, restraint and dialogue are essential in the post-election period,” Borrell said in his statement. “All parties must engage in political dialogue and cooperation to address the challenges Iraq is facing, in the interest of the country and the Iraqi people.”
Borrell’s words echoed those of al-Kadhimi, who tweeted that he was doing fine, urging everyone to stay calm “for the sake of Iraq.” Al-Kadhimi has been in office since May 2020, emerging after a period of political turmoil.
Tensions have been running high since last month’s elections in Iraq. On Friday, one person was killed and dozens were wounded after pro-Iran militias clashed with Iraqi security forces near Baghdad’s Green Zone, according to news reports.
“Any violence is unacceptable and must not be allowed to undermine the democratic process,” Borrell said.
“We stand with the Iraqi government, security forces and people in their rejection of political violence,” Truss said in her statement.