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PMF Claims Website Hacked After Contentious Statement

PMF Claims Website Hacked After Contentious Statement

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 - 09:00
Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) march during a military parade in Daquq, nearby Kirkuk, Iraq August 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) saying its website was hacked, according to some local observers, rather confirms than debunks a prior statement the group released on its militiamen partaking in massacres carried out against protestors in Baghdad.

The group said its website was hacked in order to discredit the contentious statement.

On Monday night, the official website of the PMF published a statement in which it said its gunmen opened fire in Al-Khalani Square. This was in response to calls made by the demonstrators, who were attacked by saboteurs, who clashed with Saraya Al-Salam fighters, loyal to the Sadrist movement leader Muqtada Al-Sadr.

According to the statement, which was later denied, “masked individuals were planning to provoke the demonstrators and prevent them from approaching the Sinak Garage (near Al-Khalani Square). Thus, several peaceful demonstrators were attacked with knives, sharp weapons, and Molotov cocktails to burn the place. Also, 23 others were kidnapped.

A PMF leader, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, said that the fallout from the statement was great enough to get the group to claim its website being hacked just to backtrack from it.

As for the claim itself, the leader said it is not possible given the statement was published on several platforms belonging to the group and was up for too long a period before the decision was made to take it down.

The statement has caused divisions within the PMF as it led several activists to rage against factions acting under the umbrella of the PMF.

The PMF is formed mostly of Shiite armed factions. Even though it is named as a government paramilitary force, observers believe that this faction does not obey the orders of the government, but rather comply with the commandments of its leaders, some of whom have close links with Iran.

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