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Iraq Vows to ‘Deter Aggressors’ after Attacks against PMF

Iraq Vows to ‘Deter Aggressors’ after Attacks against PMF

Monday, 26 August, 2019 - 18:15
Iraq vows to deter aggressors after attacks against PMF. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Iraqi president, prime minister and speaker of parliament condemned on Monday the attacks against the Popular Mobilization Forces, saying they were “hostile acts” that target the country.

President Barham Salih hosted Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and PMF top brass to discuss the developments.

"These attacks are a blatant, hostile act that target Iraq," the presidency said in a statement, adding: "Iraqi sovereignty and the wellbeing of its people are a red line."

It stressed the government would take all necessary steps to "deter aggressors and defend Iraq", but did not threaten a military response.

Among the attendees were PMF chief and national security advisor Faleh Fayyad, the head of the Badr Corps Hadi al-Ameri and the premier's chief of staff Mohammed al-Hashimi.

A string of incidents at PMF bases began in mid-July, when an Iraqi fighter was killed and two Iranians were wounded in shelling on a base in Iraq's Amerli region by "an unidentified drone," according to a statement by the Iraqi joint operations command.

On Sunday, an attack struck a position held by Brigade 45, a PMF unit based near Iraq's desertic western border with Syria, killing one fighter and severely wounding a second.

The Iraqi government has investigated some of the incidents, blaming an unidentified drone for one and saying another was a "premeditated" act without accusing any side or publishing the probes' full results.

Iraq's military spokesman Yehya Rasool told AFP on Monday the government had launched a new investigation into Sunday's attack.

Asked what diplomatic action Iraq could take, the foreign ministry told AFP it would wait for official conclusions before resorting to the United Nations.

"If it was proven that a foreign entity was involved in these operations, we will take all steps -- first among them, going to the Security Council and the United Nations," spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf said Monday.

The PMF has already blamed the US and Israel for the spate of attacks, with deputy chief Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis unequivocally pointing the finger at Washington last week.

Sunday's attack was the first time the PMF directly accused Israel, saying two Israeli drones targeted the Brigade 45 position near al-Qaim with US air cover.

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