On Sunday, US F-15 fighter jets struck three Kataib Hezbollah targets at Qaim near the Syrian border, and two in Syria. According to the Shiite militia group, at least 25 of their fighters were killed and nearly three dozen injured in the strikes. The Pentagon accused the group of “repeated attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces.”

“The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences,” read a statement from Mahdi’s office on Monday.

Though operating in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah is funded by Iran. Washington has directly blamed Tehran for the group’s actions – which supposedly include a rocket attack on a coalition base in Kirkuk on Friday that killed an American contractor – and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Iranian leaders of a “decisive US response” should they continue.

Mahdi’s statement highlights the uneasy relationship between militias like Kataib Hezbollah and the Iraqi government. Together with a smattering of other mostly Shiite militias, the group was sanctioned by the Iraqi government to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) from 2014 onwards. However, despite Mahdi referring to them as “Iraqi armed forces,” efforts to bring these ‘Popular Mobilization Forces’ under the command of the Iraqi military have only been partially successful.

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, acknowledged that some of these groups have carried out “illegal practices,” but condemned the US airstrike. Sistani said on Monday that “the Iraqi authorities alone are entitled to deal with these practices and take the necessary measures to prevent them.”

Mahdi’s government has yet to announce its official position on Sunday’s strikes and its future relationships, both with militia groups like Kataib Hezbollah and with the United States. Following a meeting of the Iraqi National Security Council on Monday, Baghdad announced that its relationship with the US is now up for “review.”

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

How Nasa’s rover will hunt for signs of Mars life

Nasa’s Perseverance rover, due to launch to Mars this summer, will search an ancient crater lake for signs of past life. But if biology ever emerged on the Red Planet, how will scientists recognise it? Here, mission scientist Ken Williford…

Kim Jong-un’s nephew ‘is taken into protective custody by the CIA’ three years after his father was assassinated with nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport

The nephew of Kim Jong-un has been taken into protective custody by the CIA, reports have claimed. Kim Han-sol is the son of the dictator’s half brother Kim Jong-nam who was assassinated on the orders of the North Korean leader…

Resistance was in vain: Sweden postpones massive Aurora 20 military drills due to Covid-19 crisis

The country’s military announced on Friday that it would postpone the war games in response to the ongoing health crisis in Sweden and around the world. The drills, scheduled to be held from May 11 through June 4, were supposed…

Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

Former Advisor to Lady Thatcher Nile Gardiner joins Trace Gallagher to discuss how the United Kingdom has handled the coronavirus. Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.  Boris Johnson, the British…