Iraqis mourn expert shot dead by unknown gunmen in Baghdad

Iraqis mourn expert shot dead by unknown gunmen in Baghdad
Iraq Analyst Killed

Iraqi mourners and relatives have been mourning a government adviser and media commentator who was shot dead in Baghdad after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias.

Hisham al-Hashimi, 47, was gunned down on Monday night outside his home in Baghdad’s Zeyouneh neighbourhood. His coffin, draped in the Iraqi flag, was taken to his family home before being driven to the burial site.

Mr Al-Hashimi, a leading expert on the so-called Islamic State group and other militant organisations, was a regular fixture on Iraqi television and his expertise was often sought by government officials, journalists and researchers.

Iraqi police officers investigate the scene of the shooting (AP/Hadi Mizban)

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 killing 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 Mr al-Hashimi’s killers.

An Iraqi Federal Policeman stands guard while mourners load the flag-draped coffin of Hisham al-Hashimi during his funeral (AP/Khalid Mohammed)

Hours after Mr 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 Mr 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.

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