Iraq’s prime minister has survived an assassination attempt involving drones packed with explosives that targeted his house inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
Officials say Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped unharmed but seven of his body guards were injured when one of the aerial devices hit the house. Another two of the drones were shot down.
The assassination attempt follows last month’s parliamentary elections which militias that are backed by Iran have refused to accept.
The daring attack has raised tensions in the city, and troops and patrols have been deployed throughout Baghdad.
Handout photos showed the damage to Mr al-Kadhimi’s residence, including smashed windows and doors blown off their hinges.
A video shows more damage: a van parked outside the residence badly mangled, a shallow crater near the stairs, cracks in the ceiling and walls of a balcony and broken parts of the building’s roof.
The prime minister later appeared on television seated behind a desk in a white shirt, looking calm and composed.
“Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future,” he said.
He also tweeted that “I am fine and among my people. Thank God,” and called for calm and restraint, “for the sake of Iraq”.
Residents of Baghdad heard the sound of an explosion followed by heavy gunfire from the direction of the Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and government offices.
There was no immediate claim for the attack which comes amid a stand-off between security forces and pro-Iran Shi’ite militias whose supporters have been camped outside the Green Zone for nearly a month.
The militias have rejected the results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections in which they lost around two-thirds of their seats.
Mr Al-Kadhimi, 54, was Iraq’s former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister in May last year. He is considered by the militias to be close to the US, and has tried to balance between Iraq’s alliances with both the US and Iran.
The US, the UN Security Council and others have praised the October 10 election, which was mostly violence-free and without major technical glitches.
The US strongly denounced “this apparent act of terrorism”. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US was in close contact with Iraqi security forces and had offered to help with the investigation into the attack.