Haider al-Abadi escapes assassination attempt in Baghdad

Image copyright AFP Image caption Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed to continue to pursue the Islamic State group

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi survived an assassination attempt in Baghdad.

A man driving a car loaded with explosives approached his convoy and detonated it, Baghdad police told AFP news agency.

No more details were immediately available.

Mr Abadi has vowed to pursue the Islamic State group “to the last drop of blood”. His government announced victory in Mosul in July last year.

The prime minister “allegedly” came under attack “on his way to work”, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan told AFP.

Mr Abadi also said in a statement: “I was the target of one of the highest caliber terrorist attacks against the Baghdad city of the police [and] intelligence forces”.

He described the attack as the work of a “terrorist organisation”.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The explosion reportedly took place near the prime minister’s office

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but militants affiliated with IS routinely carry out bombings targeting the Iraqi government and security forces.

Five months ago, three suicide bombers attacked the Iraqi parliament complex, killing 30 people.

This May, parliament is to convene again.

“The next (session) will be at the parliament and the president is to be elected,” Mr Abadi said in his statement.

Two votes are to be held: one for the new president, Talabani, and another for the prime minister.

Iraqis were to vote for a new president on Wednesday but Haider al-Abadi was quickly confirmed as the candidate.

He is due to form a government after the parliamentary elections in April.

His Shia-led alliance won the most seats.

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