Hisham al-Hashimi, a well-known Iraqi political and security expert, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the capital Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.
The incident took place on Monday in Zaiyouna district when the gunmen on two motorcycles opened fire at al-Hashimi’s car near his house, the source told Xinhua news agency.
Al-Hashimi was shot more than 20 times and was transferred to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the source said.
The attackers managed to flee before the arrival of security forces.
Al-Hashimi, who specialized in the affairs of the Sunni and Shia armed groups, is known for his support for the anti-government protests that broke out last October and his strong criticism of armed groups and militias.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an outlawed militant group responsible for the assassination and pledged to pursue the killers.
“We pledge to pursue the killers to bring them to justice, and we will not allow the assassinations to return to Iraq to undermine security and stability,” al-Kadhimi was quoted as saying in a statement following the incident.
The Iraqi leader described al-Hashimi as an opinion-maker and a supportive voice for the Iraqi forces during the war against the Islamic State (IS) terror group, according to the statement.
The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after the Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017, but sporadic attacks occurred in the war-ravaged country.