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Iraqi Security Forces Raid Kata’ib Hezbollah Headquarters, In Attempt To Please U.S.


Iraqi Security Forces Raid Kata'ib Hezbollah Headquarters, In Attempt To Please U.S.

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On the evening of June 25th, the Iraqi Security Forces raided the headquarters of Kata’ib Hezbollah in southern Baghdad.

Kata’ib Hezbollah is one of the key formations within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which is an official part of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

“The raid was the most brazen action by Iraqi forces against a major Iran-backed militia group in years and targeted the Kataib Hezbollah faction, which U.S. officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting U.S. troops and other facilities in Iraq,” Reuters reported.

Following the raid, there are conflict reports based on anonymous sources.

A source from the PMU, and an unnamed government official, both claimed that the detained individuals (an unknown number) were transferred to the security branch of the PMU, so they were simply returned to their own command structure.

A second government official denied any such transfer and said the militiamen were still in the custody of other security services.

An unnamed PMU official said 19 were detained, an unnamed government source said 23 were detained.

One government official told Reuters three commanders of Kataib Hezbollah had been detained during the raid, carried out by Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service. One of those commanders was an Iranian, he said.

A second PMU official said no commanders of Kataib Hezbollah were detained.

The raid was the first sign that the government of Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, plans to, at least formally, act as if he’s targeting groups that have openly expressed their hostility towards the US.

Both Tehran and Washington supported Kadhimi in becoming prime minister in May.

It should be reminded that entirely different groups have assumed responsibility for the targeting of US installations throughout Iraq, but Washington blames Kata’ib Hezbollah primarily.

The US also carried out a strike on December 30th, 2019, killing dozens of members in response to alleged attacks that the group took no responsibility of carrying out.

Tensions also reached a boiling point when in January the United States killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi PMU Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike at Baghdad airport.

The current raid is a very obvious a result of recent US pressure on the Iraqi government to carry out, at least some formal activity, in countering aggression against US personnel. The contradicting reports of whether anybody at all was detained, and if they were simply given to the PMU, then that turns the raid into an entirely formal affair with no actual practical result.




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