Iran-backed Iraqi militias say they will not remain silent on alleged US strike


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Updated June 26, 2018

Iran-backed Iraqi militias say they will not remain silent on alleged US strike

  • Iraqi forces affected by the airstrike failed to contact or coordinate their presence there with Iraq’s Joint Operations Command
  • PMF beefed up Iraqi security forces in their battle to recapture a third of the country from Daesh, helping to secure victory over the militants

IRBIL: The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a grouping of mainly Iranian-backed Shiite militias, said they would not remain silent about an alleged US airstrike that killed 22 of its members of the across the border into Syria last week.
“To the Americans, we say (…) that we will not remain silent on this attack,” PMF Commander-in-Chief Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, known by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, said in a message. video.
At a press conference, Mohandes said the PMF collected fragments of the missiles used in the strike, which he said proved to be a US attack.
This followed an accusation by the PMF on Monday that the US airstrike injured 12 other of its operatives in the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal.
The United States has denied any involvement in the strike. The Iraqi military said none of its troops tasked with securing the Iraqi-Syrian border had been affected by the airstrike.
Iraqi forces affected by the airstrike had not contacted or coordinated their presence there with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, the army added.
The PMF supported the Iraqi security forces in their battle to retake a third of the country from Daesh, helping to secure victory against the militants. They were then formally integrated into Iraq’s official security structure.
Although Iraq is carrying out cross-border strikes against Daesh positions in Syria, its security forces do not maintain a ground force. However, several PMF militias have supported Syrian regime forces on the ground for years.
Mohandes is one of Iran’s most powerful allies in Iraq. He previously headed the Kataib Hezbollah militia, one of the closest to Tehran. The two brigades affected in last week’s airstrike were affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah.
The dispute comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, precipitated by US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal.
Washington announced last month that it would impose new economic sanctions on Tehran.
In another development, security and medical sources said the attackers slaughtered the mother and three sisters of an Iraqi election commission employee at their home.
The employee, from the Turkmen minority in the town of Hamrin in the ethnically mixed province of Diyala, was not at home at the time and was not injured, the sources said. No group had claimed responsibility for the killings on Sunday night.
Daesh threatened to attack the May legislative elections in Iraq and all those who contributed to it. At least one candidate was killed before the vote, but the group has not claimed responsibility for his assassination.
A security source said that the security forces had launched an operation in the north of the province against Daesh.

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