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Iran Press TV

Iraqi prime minister hails Hashd al-Sha'abi counter-terrorism efforts

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 02 July 2020 10:09 AM

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has praised the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known as Hashd al-Sha'abi, for their key role in defeating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the Arab country.

An informed source told Iraqi Alsumaria television that Kadhimi held a meeting with commanders of PMU and Iraq's Counter-terrorism Service (CTS) on Wednesday night, highlighting their role in eradicating terrorism.

The Iraqi prime minister said that he did not differentiate between the country's counter-terrorism forces, including the army, police, PMU and CTS.

The meeting came after Iraq released a dozen members of PMU following an unprecedented raid on the headquarters of Kata'ib Hezbollah, which is said to have been dictated by the US.

The PMU members were released on Monday and all charges against them were dropped, Kata'ib Hezbollah's military spokesman Jaafar al-Husseini told AFP.

The arrests had been made last Thursday for allegedly planning a rocket attack on Baghdad's Green Zone, where the US and other embassies as well as state buildings are located.

Despite Washington's accusations, Kata'ib has never claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Thursday raid on Kata'ib headquarters raised serious questions about Iraq's direction under the new government, as Iraqi leaders described it as an attempt dictated by the US occupiers.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament recognized Hashd al-Sha'abi as an official force with similar rights as those of the regular army, therefore legally establishing it as part of the National Armed Forces.

The PMU has long rejected Washington's military presence in the country as an obstacle impeding long-lasting security and stability in Iraq.

In January, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Iran's top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq's PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with a parliamentary order calling for the expulsion of US troops following the assassination.

Iraq launches new anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces began a large-scale security operation against the remnants of Daesh terrorist north of the capital Baghdad on Thursday.

Citing a statement by Iraq's Security Media Cell, Mawazin news said that the prime minister, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, ordered the operation under the supervision of the Joint Operations Command.

The statement added that the new military operation is aimed at enhancing security and stability in those areas while chasing terrorists and arresting them.

Daesh began a campaign of terror in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign, which also had the support of neighboring Iran.

Recently, however, Daesh has launched a string of terrorist attacks targeting civilians and Iraqi forces, among them Hashd al-Sha'abi fighters.

Iraqi groups have warned of renewed US-Daesh collaboration to destabilize the region, saying Washington is transferring senior commanders of the terror outfit from eastern Syria to Iraq.

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