The Murder Case
BAGHDAD: On Monday, gunmen shot and killed an American aid worker, the first foreigner to be killed there in recent years, according to two police officials.
On the east bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad’s central Karrada neighbourhood, the man was shot in his car as he pulled up to the street where he lived. The reason for the killing wasn’t immediately apparent, they said. The man’s wife and child, who were also in the car, reportedly weren’t hurt.
According to the authorities, the man was killed by gunmen in another car who cut him off while driving through his street. It was unclear at the time if the attackers intended to kidnap the man.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, told reporters that the agency is aware of reports of the murder of a US aid worker in Baghdad and is looking into them. He added that the department had not yet been able to confirm the death or that the deceased was a US citizen.
The man had been leasing an apartment in Karrada’s Wahda district since May last year, according to documents seen by The Associated Press.
Nobody immediately took responsibility for the murder.
The US Embassy Response
When The Associated Press contacted US Embassy representatives, they could not immediately provide any information on the matter.
Security Official Statements
Two security officials stated that a US citizen working for an international aid organisation had been killed, but they did not specify which organisation he worked for or his name. They stated that there were few details available but that an investigation was underway. According to regulations, the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.
When the victim arrived at Sheikh Zayed Hospital, a medical staff member reported that he was already dead.
To “investigate the circumstances of the killing of an American citizen in the capital,” Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani announced that he would assemble a committee of representatives from the interior ministry and various security organisations.
The victim is said to have lived in a middle-class, mixed Christian and Muslim neighbourhood, where the streets were empty but heavily policed Monday night.
What Was The Situation Like Before?
Since Daesh was defeated in 2017, attacks against individuals in Baghdad are rare, but rockets are sometimes fired at the US Embassy.
Such attacks were frequent in the early years after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. After being abducted in Baghdad in 2004, two Americans were later beheaded in videos released by extremists.
A Vote Of Confidence
In late October, the Iraqi parliament gave a vote of Confidence to the new government led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani just before the attack. Al-Sudani was chosen by the Coordination Framework, mainly composed of Shiite parties and backed by Iran.
Due to significant anti-government protests in Baghdad and other parts of southern Iraq in October 2019, Iraq held early elections more than a year ago. The political system put in place following the US-led invasion in 2003 was called for change by protesters.
The US-led coalition’s combat mission in Iraq recently ended, but it is still providing advice to Iraqi security forces in the war against Daesh.