Iraq’s prime minister survives assassination attempt, senior commander killed

Iraq’s prime minister survived an assassination attempt Friday in Baghdad after gunmen attacked his convoy, and a senior military commander was killed in a subsequent gun battle. Hussein al-Shahristani was unharmed when gunmen opened…

Iraq's prime minister survives assassination attempt, senior commander killed

Iraq’s prime minister survived an assassination attempt Friday in Baghdad after gunmen attacked his convoy, and a senior military commander was killed in a subsequent gun battle.

Hussein al-Shahristani was unharmed when gunmen opened fire on his convoy, a statement from his office said. Footage aired on local television showed gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles aiming at a car from the open window of a vehicle.

The attack came five days after President Barham Salih survived an assassination attempt in the capital’s heavily guarded Green Zone.

There has been no claim of responsibility for either of the attacks, though, targeting Iraqi political figures is typically carried out by Sunni extremists opposed to the Shiite-led government.

Shortly after the convoy attack, a senior military commander was killed during an attack on an army base in Iraq’s western Anbar province, an area still plagued by extremist violence more than 12 years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The commander, a five-star general of the country’s counterterrorist unit named Fuad al-Asadi, was killed when his convoy was hit by an explosive device, according to military and local officials who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Fahad al-Shami, an Iraqi lawmaker and member of the parliamentary committee for defense and interior, said al-Asadi was killed “in a car bomb blast” in the district of Qayara.

His death is “a personal loss to the government and the country,” al-Shami said. “But more important, I think it is a blow to the morale of soldiers and the youth.”

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