Kataib Hezbollah member’s household massacred in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — An tried assassination on Jan. 6 of a member of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the killing of a number of members of his household within the Iraqi capital has sparked hypothesis a few wider battle in addition to rising considerations associated to the nation’s safety sector.

The assertion issued by the PMU mentioned that the person critically injured on Thursday was named Ahmed Abd al-Muttalib and that 5 members of his household had been killed in a “treacherous and cowardly incident.”

It mentioned that the killings had occurred at his home in Maalif, an space of western Baghdad southeast of the Baghdad International Airport.

“The gunmen opened fire on family members who were inside the house, killing five of them and seriously wounding” Muttalib, who was hospitalized, the assertion continued. 

Some Twitter accounts near the PMU mentioned that amongst these killed within the assault had been his spouse and three youngsters aged 14, Eight and seven. Others reported that every one had been shot within the head — together with the PMU member now in important situation — by 4 males whose identities usually are not identified. 

A safety supply instructed this journalist on Jan. 7 that one other PMU official had been focused within the Kirkuk space.

“At 0330 hours,” he wrote in a message, “an unidentified person entered the residence of Cpt. Alaa Yasser Ramadan Khader, born in 1984”, a safety official for the 16th Brigade of the PMU, “and shot him while he was sleeping from the outside window of his residence with a pistol-type weapon,” hitting him within the head.

The 16th Brigade is a Badr affiliate consisting of primarily Shiite Turkmen working within the Kirkuk and Tuz Khormato areas.

A Dec. 30 mass killing additional south within the Babil province of 20 members of one other household by members of the safety forces, allegedly on the idea of false info, had sparked outrage solely days earlier than.

In that incident, the daddy of the household was initially accused of being a part of a drug trafficking community after which of being affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), as Al-Monitor reported. It quickly grew to become clear that the assault was a part of a private dispute and that somebody had exploited their private affect throughout the safety forces to authorize the raid.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has since faraway from their positions the regional and native heads of intelligence in addition to the regional police chief. They and over a dozen others have been positioned below investigation.

The 20 individuals killed had been as a consequence of be buried on Friday morning after the forensic division handed over the our bodies late Thursday.

The PMU member’s Jan. 6 tried assassination might, nonetheless, be a part of a wider battle.

The 45th Brigade that he is part of consists of fighters from Kataib Hezbollah (KH), which was listed by the United States as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group in 2009 for attacking US forces and destabilizing Iraq.

It is intently linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and has been accused of being concerned in focused assassinations of activists concerned within the 2019 mass protests that led to the resigning of the federal government at the moment.

KH and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), one other IRGC-linked group with models throughout the government-incorporated PMU, had been focused by a US airstrike on Feb. 25, 2020, within the Albu Kamal space of Syria simply throughout the border from the Iraqi city of Qaim within the first identified offensive army motion taken by the Joe Biden administration.

KSS spokesman Sheikh Kadhim al-Fertousi in latest weeks claimed to this journalist that “so far we already have 45,000” calls from would-be volunteers for the post-December combat towards US forces ought to they continue to be in Iraq after Dec. 31.

Significantly, KH was additionally focused by a US airstrike near the Iraqi-Syrian border on Dec. 29, 2019, in an incident that sparked a crescendo of pressure and was adopted days later by the high-profile assassination by US drone strike simply exterior the Baghdad airport of Iran’s IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani and former deputy PMU chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, additionally a historic member of KH, on Jan. 3, 2020.

That was in flip adopted by the Jan. 8, 2020, concentrating on by Iran of Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base, which has lengthy hosted forces from the worldwide coalition towards IS, by reportedly the largest ballistic missile assault ever towards American forces.

The similar base has repeatedly been focused by ineffective drone assaults in latest days as a part of a push to get all US forces out of the area being performed by Iran-linked armed teams.

An announcement by US Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Jonathan Hoffman launched instantly after the Dec. 29, 2019, assault had mentioned the United States had “conducted precision defense strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks.”

Iraqi President Barham Salih had referred to as it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

A KH regiment commander and aide to the 45th Brigade commander, Abu Ali al-Khazali, was one in every of dozens killed within the assault.

Anbar PMU Cmdr. Qassim Musleh had at the moment instructed this journalist, in railing towards the motion, that at the very least 27 fighters from the 2 brigades had been killed and 37 injured and that “the two brigades targeted, the 45th and 46th, are part of Kataib Hezbollah” however “they are under my command and working as part of the Anbar Operations Command.”

Musleh was arrested in May on terrorism costs however later launched, allegedly after strain on the judiciary. He works intently with KH within the Iraqi-Syrian border space.

Washington Institute profile revealed in April 2021 said that, “In practice, KH PMF (PMU) Brigades frequently disobey the GoI (Government of Iraq) chain of command while remaining legally organs of the Iraqi state.”

Some PMU teams near the IRGC are additionally suspected of involvement in a November 2021 assassination try on Kadhimi.

KH maintains a controversial presence within the city beforehand often known as Jurf al-Sakr and now often known as Jurf al-Nasr in the identical province because the Dec. 30 mass killing occurred, Babil.

The city was retaken from IS in 2014, however the Sunni residents haven’t but been allowed to return, allegedly due to Shiite militias together with KH stopping them from doing so.

Also within the Babil province, a PMU commander was reportedly assassinated in August of this 12 months. Gunmen opened hearth on a car carrying the person, often known as Abu Sadiq al-Khashkhashi, killing each him and his guard, in accordance with media studies.

Other PMU commanders have been killed by strikes performed by international nations, such because the commander of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), Marwan Bada. The YBS is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey, the United States and the EU have all designated a terrorist group, however can be a part of the PMU.

He was reportedly killed by a Turkish drone strike on his automobile Dec. 7.

The PMU commander focused on Jan. 7 remained in important situation on Friday. For the second, it’s unclear whether or not it was his affiliation with an IRGC-linked unit, a private dispute or different causes that led to this newest of many focused killings in Iraq.


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