Iraqi militias organize funerals 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 militiamen killed in US airstrikes.
The US Department of Defense said on Sunday it hit three sites around the Iraqi-Syrian border occupied by Iraqi militias supported by Iran. The Pentagon said the sites were used by the Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias for operations and the transfer of weapons, including drones.
US forces in Iraq are increasingly attacked by unmanned aerial vehicles that are believed to be operated by militias.
The symbolic funeral procession took place on Tuesday near the so-called green zone of the Iraqi capital, where prominent government offices and diplomatic missions, including the United States Embassy, are based.
The US airstrikes on militia installations were intended to send a message to the predominantly Shiite forces inclined towards Iran, which opposes the US military presence in Iraq. US troops are in the country as part of the global coalition against ISIS.
A number of main roads were blocked in Baghdad for the funeral, which was attended by members of the Iraqi government, including national security adviser Qassim al-Araji. Former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was also present.
Senior PMF leaders were also present, including Hadi al-Amri and Abdul-Aziz al-Mohammadawi, commonly known as Abu Fadak.
Following the assassination by the United States of senior Iranian military commander Qassim Soleimani and his Iraqi comrade Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis in January 2020, tensions between Washington and the militias increased.
US forces have been attacked by rockets, roadside bombs and, increasingly, drones stuffed with explosives which can fly at low altitude to avoid the radars that trigger the American C-RAM air defense system.
The militias have vowed revenge on the United States for Monday’s airstrikes.