Iraqi prime minister escapes sniper shot

Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi escapes sniper fire on his convoy near Tal Abu Jrad near Beiji, Iraq where security forces have been battling militants

Photo by: NASA, ESA
Photo by: NASA, ESA

Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obaidi (front) walks with officers near the town of Baiji September 7, 2015

According to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, Prime Minister Khaled al-Obaidi escaped sniper fire on his convoy Monday around Tal Abu Jrad near Baiji where Iraqi forces have been battling ISIS.

The Ministry said in a statement that one of Obeidi’s guards was wounded in the attack while Obaidi himself was not harmed, though it is not sure if the sniper was targeting Obeidi himself.

Joint operations spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told Reuters that "The minister is well and safe." .

Obaidi was on a field visit overseeing the military operation in Baiji which is currently under the control of ISIS.

ISIS took control of Baiji last year, but Iraqi forces succeed to retake it from the militants before ISIS seized the city again.

Baiji is situated in a strategic position on the road to Iraq's ISIS controlled city, Mosul. Mosul is Iraq's second largest city and is located close to the largest oil refinery in Iraq.

Holding Beiji would eventually be a strategic asset for Iraqi forces, but an operation to retake Iraq’s Mosul from the militants is currently a distant prospect.

Clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIS have been ongoing since June 2014 when the armed group seized Mosul and other territories in Iraq.

This prompted the US to form an international coalition which has launched numerous airstrikes against ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria since August, 2011.

During the battle against ISIS several senior Iraqi officials have been targeted by bombings or shooting.

The attack on Obaidi’s convoy is among the latest in which senior Iraqi officials and officers have been exposed to bombings or shootings during battles against ISIS.

TRTWorld and agencies