Iraqis mourn expert on armed groups killed by unknown gunmen

Mourners pray carry the coffin of slain Iraqi expert Hisham Al-Hashemi, who was shot dead yesterday outside his house in the Iraqi capital, before his burial on July 7, 2020 in Najaf in central Iraq. (AFP)
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Updated 07 July 2020

Iraqis mourn expert on armed groups killed by unknown gunmen

  • Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on Hisham Al-Hashimi outside his home in the Zeyouneh area of Baghdad
  • Al-Hashimi was a well-connected security analyst

BAGHDAD: Iraqi mourners and relatives on Tuesday carried the body of a respected analyst shot and killed the previous night in Baghdad after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias. Many Iraqis expressed their shock over the slaying.
Hisham Al-Hashimi, 47, was gunned down on Monday night outside his home in Baghdad’s Zeyouneh neighborhood. His casket, draped in the Iraqi flag, was taken to his family home before being driven to the burial site.
Al-Hashimi, a leading expert on Daesh and other militant organization, was a regular fixture on Iraqi television and his expertise was often sought by government officials, journalists and researchers.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the killing, which comes weeks after he confided to close friends that he had received threats from militia groups. The slaying also coincides with a spate of rocket attacks targeting US interests that has been blamed on Iran-backed armed groups.
Authorities launched a raid last week in Baghdad, in which they detained 14 members of the powerful Kataib Hezbollah group, suspected of orchestrating the attacks. All but one detainees were released days later.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said Iraqi security forces would “spare no effort” in pursuing Al-Hashimi’s killers.

Hours after Al-Hashimi’s killing, authorities fired the top police officer for Zeyouneh and launched an investigation into his activities, according to an order from the prime minister’s office, seen by The Associated Press.
Condemnations from Iraqi officials poured in as shock reverberated across the country at the news of Al-Hashimi’s killing.

Nechirvan Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, said “authorities must find the perpetrators of this terror act and bring them to justice,” in a tweet on Tuesday.

 

 


Blast targets ‘American’ English school in southern Iraq

Updated 18 September 2020

Blast targets ‘American’ English school in southern Iraq

  • The blast damaged the facade of the American Institute for English Learning in the city of Najaf
  • The school is not formally affiliated with any institutions in the US

BAGHDAD: An improvised explosive device blew up outside an English-language institute in southern Iraq early Friday without causing any casualties, Iraqi police said in a statement, amid a recent uptick in attacks targeting the American presence in Iraq.
The blast damaged the facade of the American Institute for English Learning in the city of Najaf, a statement from the province’s police directorate said.
The school is not formally affiliated with any institutions in the US. It was believed to to have been targeted because it offered English-language lessons to Iraqis. No Americans were employed there.
Attacks targeting the US presence have been on the rise since Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi traveled to Washington last month to conclude strategic talks. Rocket attacks routinely target the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of the Iraqi government, where the US Embassy is located.
Roadside bombs also often hit convoys carrying materials destined for the US military. Hours before Friday’s attack on the English-language center, a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi convoy transporting equipment headed for the US-led coalition without causing any losses.
Last week, a roadside bomb targeted a British diplomatic convoy in Baghdad, without causing any casualties.
There are more than 5,000 American troops in Iraq now. Last month, the top US general for the Middle East said he believed the US will keep a smaller but enduring presence in the country.