Iraq defence minister evades sniper fire

  • 08/09/2015
Khaled al-Obaidi (Reuters)
Khaled al-Obaidi (Reuters)

Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obaidi has escaped unharmed as a sniper fired on his convoy near a town where security forces have been battling jihadists, the ministry says.

Monday's (local time) attack, which took place in the Tal Abu Jrad area near Baiji wounded one of Obaidi's guards, the defence ministry said in a statement.

A defence ministry official told AFP that Obaidi himself was unharmed.

The minister was touring the area to oversee military operations in Baiji, which was seized by the Islamic State jihadist group last year, retaken by the government but then lost to the jihadists again.

It was not immediately clear if the attack was actually aimed at Obaidi, or just a militant firing on a target of opportunity.

IS overran large parts of Iraq last year, sweeping security forces aside, but Baghdad's forces have since regained ground with backing from a US-led coalition and Iran.

Holding Baiji, located on the road to IS hub Mosul, would eventually be a strategic asset for Iraqi forces, but an operation to retake Iraq's second city from the jihadists is currently a distant prospect.