Baghdad–Only one day after accepting the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sacked a number of high-ranking officials responsible for security in Baghdad, including the head of the Baghdad Operations Command.
Minister Ghabban resigned after the Karrada terrorist bombing that killed 300 and injured over 200 civilians.
A statement issued by Abadi’s office said that the prime minister had dismissed the head of the Baghdad Operations Command Abdul Amir al-Shammari and commanders of military operations, security services and intelligence in the capital.
Minister Gabban told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the security of Baghdad falls under the responsibility of Baghdad Operations Command.
Abadi didn’t announce any alternatives for both positions of Interior Minister and head of Baghdad Operations Command. Yet, negotiations are ongoing with head of Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri to choose a candidate.
The two favorite candidates are Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi and Maj. Gen. Nasser al-Ghannam, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Saadi had expressed his unwillingness to take the position and said he preferred to take part in liberating operations of Mosul following his successful operations to liberate Fallujah and Saladin. Ghannam hasn’t responded yet.
The source also revealed that negotiations are also taking place with Badr Organization to name a candidate to replace Gabban.
According to the source, if Abadi and Amiri fail to agree on a candidate, Abadi is most likely to name former Brigadier Gen. Najib al-Salihi as Interior Minister.
Salihi is the candidate named by head of Sadrist Movement Muqtada Sadr who is still threatening of organizing protests to force ministerial reforms.
Meanwhile, Saladin governorate announced three days of mourning for the terrorist attack on Imam Sayyid Mohammed Shrine in Balad.
Head of security committee in Saladin Provincial Council Khaled al-Khazrji told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the terrorists were disguised as members Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), thus they were not searched.
He added that as soon as they entered the shrine, two of them blew themselves up, killing 40 civilians and injuring over 60. The third terrorist was killed by the security before he was able to detonate himself. The blast also burnt down completely a nearby market.
Khazrji considered this a breach of security that has to be dealt with. He also mentioned that security measures were discussed in the meeting with the operations command and several PMF leaders.