Iraqi Prime Minister survives suicide bomb attack

Written by CNN Staff Writer

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi survived an assassination attempt in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City on Friday night, according to the Iraqi defense ministry and hospital authorities.

The identity of the assassin remains unknown.

A car bomb was detonated in the main commercial street in Sadr City, the head of the Sadr Medical Center Dr. Naweil Nouri told CNN.

“The Prime Minister is completely safe,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement, adding that five people were killed and 36 injured in the blast.

Abadi visited the hospital following the attack and thanked the military, the Iraqi government and “our citizens who stood by us today as martyrs during this terrorist attack,” the statement said.

“These events will not force the government to stop performing its duties, this can be done while maintaining safety and security,” it said.

The prime minister is a member of the popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s political party and his office has faced frequent assassination attempts.

In October 2017, the prime minister and his entourage came under fire as they traveled to a palace in Baghdad. The blast narrowly missed them but killed at least one person.

Iraq has not enjoyed an especially peaceful year.

Sadr came to power in the wake of the civil war in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion. Many in Iraq blamed al-Sadr’s family for selling out their ideals to the Americans.

The cleric went on to split from the ruling Coalition Provisional Authority and formed the National Alliance, an umbrella grouping of political and paramilitary forces.

A caretaker government was appointed in the summer after parliament failed to elect a speaker amid a fight over corruption allegations against the embattled Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

CNN’s Mohammed Al-Kinani contributed to this report.

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