Iraqi security forces raid Iranian-backed militia's headquarters

Iraqi security forces raid headquarters belonging to the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, seize rockets and detain commanders.

Elad Benari ,

Iraq
Iraq
Reuters

Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters belonging to a powerful Iran-backed militia south of Baghdad late on Thursday, two Iraqi government officials said, according to Reuters.

The forces seized rockets and detained three commanders of the group at the site, the officials added.

The militia group targeted was the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, which US officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting US troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has indicated he will be tough on militia groups which target US installations. The raid, which took place after midnight, is the first sign Kadhimi will follow through on his tough talk.

The raid took place after a number of rocket attacks near the US embassy in Baghdad and other US military sites in the country in recent weeks.

In late December, a rocket attack killed a US contractor working at a base in northern Iraq.

Several days later, US F-15 fighter jets bombed five bases used by Kata'ib Hezbollah.

There was no immediate comment from Iraqi militia groups or from Iran on Thursday night’s raids. Both Tehran and Washington supported Kadhimi in becoming prime minister in May.

One of the government officials told Reuters one of the three leaders detained in the raid was an Iranian. Iraqi special forces from the Counter Terrorism Service carried out the raid, he said.

The official said the three detained leaders were handed over to the US military. A spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq said he “doubted” that Iraqi authorities had handed over the detainees.

The Iraqi official said at least 20 other fighters were detained during the raid.



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