Iraqi militias hold funeral for 4 members killed in US strike
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Government officials and members of the Iraqi state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces gathered in Baghdad on Tuesday for the funeral parade of four militia members killed in US airstrikes.
The US Department of Defense on Sunday said it struck three sites around the Iraq-Syria border manned by Iraqi militias backed by Iran. The Pentagon said the sites were used by militias Kataib Hizbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada for operations and transferring weapons, including drones.
US forces in Iraq have increasingly come under attack by unmanned aerial vehicles believed to be operated by the militias.
The symbolic funeral procession on Tuesday took place near the Iraqi capital’s so-called Green Zone, where high-profile government offices and diplomatic missions, including the US Embassy, are based.
The US airstrikes against the militia facilities were intended to send message to the mostly-Shia forces inclined towards Iran, which opposes the US military presence in Iraq. US troops are in the country within the framework of the global coalition against ISIS.
A number of major roads were blocked in Baghdad for the funeral, which was attended by members of the Iraqi government, including National Security Advisor Qassim al-Araji. Former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi also attended.
Top leaders from the PMF were also present, including Hadi al-Amri and Abdul-Aziz al-Mohammadawi, commonly referred to as Abu Fadak.
Following the US assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassim Soleimani and his Iraqi comrade Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis in January 2020, tensions between Washington and militias have surged.
American forces have come under attack from rockets, roadside bombs, and, increasingly, explosive-packed drones which can fly at low altitude to avoid radars that trigger the US C-RAM air defense system.
The militias have vowed revenge on the US for Monday’s airstrikes.