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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Bombs target Iraq's communist party

The party is part of the alliance headed by cleric Moqtada Al Sadar that won Iraq's parliamentary election

The communist party, whose headquarters were targeted in a bombing, is allied to cleric Moqtada Al Sadr who won a resounding victory in elections. Karim Kadim / AP  
The communist party, whose headquarters were targeted in a bombing, is allied to cleric Moqtada Al Sadr who won a resounding victory in elections. Karim Kadim / AP  

Two homemade bombs targeted the headquarters of the Iraqi Communist Party, which is part of an alliance with cleric Moqtada Al Sadr that won Iraq's parliamentary election, a party official and security sources said.

The explosive devices were hurled into the garden of the building in Baghdad on Friday and did not cause any casualties, said Jassim Helfi, a senior member of the party.

He described the incident as a message from those opposed to the Sairoon bloc's calls for reforms in Iraq. Sairoon has promised to end corruption and foreign interference in Iraq's affairs.

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Mr Al Sadr scored a surprise victory in the election by promising better services and tapping growing resentment with Iran and what voters say is its support for a corrupt political elite.

The cleric himself cannot become prime minister because he did not run in the election, though his bloc's victory puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations on forming a new government.

Mr Al Sadr reached out to dispossessed Shiites and marginalised Sunnis, and restored links with Sunni neighbours while keeping Iran at bay.

The nationalist cleric's success could be a setback for Iran, which has steadily increased its influence in Iraq - its most important ally in the Middle East - since a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Before the election, Iran publicly stated it would not allow Mr Al Sadr's bloc to govern in Iraq, with which it shares a border.