BAGHDAD (AP) — Attackers shot and killed an American aid worker in Baghdad on Monday in a rare murder of a foreigner in the Iraqi capital in recent years, two police officials said.
The man was shot in his car as he entered the street where he lives in the central Karrada district on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, but the reason for the murder was not immediately clear, they said. They said the man’s wife and child were in the car with him but unharmed.
Officials said as the man was driving down his street, a car cut him off and attackers in another car shot him to death. It was not immediately clear whether the attackers were trying to kidnap the man, they said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the Department is aware of and is investigating the murder of a US aid worker in Baghdad. But he said the department was not yet able to confirm the accounts of the death or whether the person was a US citizen.
According to documents from The Associated Press, the man had been renting an apartment in Karrada’s Wahda neighborhood since May last year.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the murder.
U.S. embassy officials said when approached by The Associated Press that they had only just heard of the shooting and had no information.
Two security officials confirmed that a US citizen working for an international aid agency had been murdered without giving his name. They said details were scarce, but an investigation was underway. The officials spoke on a condition of anonymity in accordance with the regulations.
Such attacks on individuals in the Iraqi capital have been rare since the defeat of the Islamic State group in the country in 2017, but rockets are sometimes fired at the US embassy.
In the early years following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, such attacks were common. In 2004, two Americans were kidnapped in Baghdad and later extremists released videos showing their beheading.
The attack came after Iraq’s new cabinet led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani received a confidence vote from parliament in late October. Al-Sudani was named by the Iran-backed coordination framework, which is largely made up of Shia parties.
Iraq held snap elections more than a year ago in response to massive anti-government protests that began in October 2019 in Baghdad and across southern Iraq. Protesters called for the overhaul of the political system established after the US-led invasion in 2003.
US-led coalition forces have recently ended their combat mission in Iraq, but continue to play an advisory role for Iraqi forces in the fight against IS.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington.