Iraqi forces attack Iran-backed militia headquarters near Baghdad

Iraqi security forces raided the headquarters of an Iranian-backed militia near Baghdad, seizing rockets and arresting more than a dozen pro-Iran fighters.

The militia group targeted was Kataib Hezbollah, also identified as Brigade 45 of the Hached al-Chaabi military force, Iraqi government officials said on June 26.

“Based on intelligence information, a unit of the anti-terrorism service raided a base used by Brigade 45, seizing three rocket launchers and arresting 13 fighters,” one of the officials said, according to AFP.

The new Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has indicated that he will be tough on militias targeting American installations. The raid, which reportedly took place early June 25, was the first by Iraqi military forces against a group accused of targeting US facilities.

Since October, nearly three dozen attacks have targeted US interests in Iraq, including military bases, the US embassy in Baghdad and US oil companies. The attacks killed Iraqi, American and British servicemen.

The United States blamed Kataib Hezbollah for the attacks and retaliated twice. He also pressured Baghdad to take tougher measures against the group.

There was no immediate comment from Iraqi militias or Iran.

One of the three leaders detained in the raid was an Iranian, a government official told Reuters. The official said the three detained leaders were turned over to the US military. But a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq said he “doubts” that Iraqi authorities have handed over the detainees.

In January, the United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike at Baghdad airport.

According to AFP and Reuters reports

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