BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi state television aired a video on Friday in which a police officer said he led a group that gunned down well-known analyst and government advisor Hisham al-Hashemi a year ago outside his home in Baghdad.
Hashemi, who had advised the authorities on defeating Sunni Muslim Islamic State militants and curbing the influence of the pro-Iran Shi’ite militias, was shot dead on July 6, 2020, in a rare high-profile killing in the Iraqi capital.
In the video broadcast by Iraqiya state television a man in a brown jail jumpsuit identifies himself as Ahmed al-Kinani, 36, a police first lieutenant working with the interior ministry.
In brief comments, Kinani described how he led a group of four other suspects, who are still at large, to track down and kill Hashemi.
“I pulled my police pistol and shot four bullets into him,” Kinani said, without giving a motive for the killing.
A government statement on Friday described the officer as a member of “rouge group” without naming it, and said his confession had been witnessed by a judge in the presence of the suspect’s lawyer.
“We promised to capture Hisham al-Hashemi’s killers. We fulfilled that promise,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi wrote on Twitter shortly before the video was shown on state television.
No one had claimed responsibility for Hashemi’s killing, which took place in the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad and came at a time of rising tension between Kadhimi’s government and powerful Iran-backed militias and political parties who oppose him and accuse him of siding with the United States.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Daniel Wallis)