The body of Ahmadani’s wife and three children were also found riddled with bullets. Only the youngest daughter, aged four, survived the assassination, current hospitalised in a critical condition. His two children, aged eight and 11, sustained gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
Ahmadani’s neighbour told Sharqiyya News how the youngest daughter clambered her way down the staircase of her home to reach the front porch where neighbours found her.
Colleagues knew him as a man of charisma, unlikely to have had enemies or be embroiled in any tribal conflict.
Speaking of possible motives, analyst Ahmad Mahmoud from the Foreign Relations Bureau of Iraq (FRB-I), a London-based opposition group, revealed attempts by militiamen to unseat Ahmadani and replace him with one of their own.
“The last director, Kariman, fled to Erbil upon receiving a barrage of death threats. Once militias succeed in seizing control of the club, they will step up recruitment to allure pilots to join their ranks. FRB believes strongly that Ahmadani was slain for his position, viewed as a man that stood in the way of the ambitions of militia forces,” Mahmoud told MEMO.
“I do not doubt for a second that Ahmadani’s position was not one which several sides were competing over,” the Secretary of the Air Force Club, Hamza Hadi, told local press.
Others suspect sectarian motives were to blame, believing Ahmadani may have been singled out for his religious background.
Sources in Baghdad have confirmed that the Air Force Club has come under the control of one of Iraq’s lethal militia forces, Asa’ib ahl Al-Haq – The League of the Righteous. They echoed similar concerns to Mahmoud of the club’s potential transformation into an air force recruitment platform to enable militia forces to amass greater power.
Another press release published last week by the Ministry of Interior presents a version of events that contradicts eye witness accounts.
Allegations of “suicide” put forth by the state have been refuted by Ahmadani’s relatives. One member says in an interview posted by Iraqi Spring Media: “He was shot from the back of his head, and another bullet fired hit the top of his skull, which makes suicide an implausible argument.” He added that Ahmadani had been dealt several blows to his face and body – tell-tale signs of a scuffle.
The First Lieutenant in Baghdad police, Hatem Al-Jabri, told the Anadolu Agency that the government is still investigating the matter and that CCTV footage has been seized from neighbouring homes to put together the missing pieces of the story.
Assassinations of individuals in high ranking positions in Iraq are commonplace, a persistent feature of Iraq’s post-2003 political landscape. But as all eyes remain fixed on Mosul, alarming trends threatening security in Baghdad have simply faded into the background.
In the run up to national elections, the rate of these attempts rises only to fall back down post-elections.
The latest case in question has generated deep scorn among those that view the latest government press release as an attempt to cover up Ahmadani’s assassination.
The attack has left Mansour and wider Baghdad choked up. One week has passed, but we are still no closer to the truth. By dismissing evidence of homicide, the story, as told by the government, shields the assassins. It guarantees no suspects are apprehended, for a crime dressed up as suicide.