Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said today that a car bomb explosion outside of parliament, in Baghdad’s Green Zone, on Nov. 28 was an attempt to assassinate him.
“The preliminary intelligence information says that the car was due to enter parliament and stay there and not to explode. It was supposed to explode on the day I entered parliament," al-Maliki said in an interview with The Associated Press. Al-Maliki was not in or near the parliament building when the explosion occurred, the AP reported.
Al-Maliki’s comments contradict what a spokesman for the speaker of parliament had initially said about the attack, the New York Times reported. He said that bomb had been targeted at the speaker, Osama al-Najafi.
Al-Maliki blamed Al Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party for the attempt on his life. "They are opposing me, the parliament speaker and the parliament and the whole political process, so whomever the victim of their operation will be, it is a victory for them," he told the AP.
In a news conference on Friday, the New York Times reported, a spokesman for the Baghdad Operation Command said terrorists from the mostly Sunni Anbar Province and Baghdad had been trying to harm al-Maliki, who is a Shiite.
According to the New York Times:
The explosion on Monday worried Iraqis, because the bomber was able to penetrate the heavy security inside the Green Zone, where there have been few attacks in recent years.
Al-Maliki shrugged off suggestions that the attack indicates that Iraqi forces won’t be able to maintain security after the US military leaves Iraq this month, the AP reported.
"I don't think that this says something about the security situation in the country," the prime minister told the AP. "Such breaches can happen in any country or anywhere. It was a very simple operation. I cannot see in this operation any indication of a security deterioration in Iraq."
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