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Exploding drone leaves Iraq’s prime minister unharmed

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The drone has taken sectarian tensions in Baghdad to new heights. Photo: AAP
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Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has survived an assassination attempt with an armed drone that targeted his residence.

Two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that seven of his security guards were injured in the attack, which occurred early on Sunday in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and government offices.

The attack came after last week’s clashes between Iraqi security forces and demonstrators protesting the results of October’s parliamentary elections, in which pro-Iranian groups suffered significant losses.

“I am fine and among my people. Thank God,” the Prime Minister tweeted shortly after the attack, calling for calm and restraint, “for the sake of Iraq”.

Mr al-Kadhimi later appeared on Iraqi television and appeared calm and composed.

“Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future,” he said.

Baghdad residents heard an explosion followed by gunfire from the direction of the Green Zone.

The statement released by state-run media said the failed assassination attempt was with “an explosives-laden drone that tried to target his residence in the Green Zone”.

It was not clear who was behind the attack, nor did anyone immediately claim responsibility.

It 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 after they rejected the results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections, in which they were the biggest losers.

The US State Department called the drone attack “an apparent act of terrorism” and said US officials were relieved to learn that al-Kadhimi was unharmed.

“We are in close touch with the Iraqi security forces,” State Department  statement said. “Our commitment to our Iraqi partners is unshakeable.”

-AAP