Iraqi paramilitary: U.S. remarks on senior commander a “transgression”

Deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Baghdad ( The Iran-backed paramilitary force fighting Islamic State alongside the Iraqi government said Friday the United State’s remarks branding one of its top leaders as “terrorist” were a transgression against Iraqi security services.

Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesperson of the Popular Mobilization Forces, said in statements, circulated by some Iraqi media outlets, that U.S. State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert’s description of Abu Mahdi al-Muhanids, deputy chief of the PMF, as a “terrorist” was a transgression against Iraqi security services.

“We are waiting for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to respond to that transgression,” Assaid stated, noting that those remarks would not discourage the PMF from its mission.

“He is a terrorist, and beyond that – I’m just not going to go beyond that,” Nauert said, speaking to reporters at a daily press briefing late Thursday. She was asked to comment on reports that Muhandis had opened a PMF recruitment office in Kirkuk, which Iraqi forces, backed by PMFs, recaptured earlier this month from Kurds.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office had strongly rejected statements by U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson who called, during a visit to Riyadh on Sunday, for “Iranian militias” in Iraq to “go home”, referring to the mobilization forces.

Abadi’s office responded sharply, stressing that “no party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters.”

“The Popular Mobilization Forces are composed of Iraqi fighters, and had been formed under an offensive by Daesh (Islamic State) and its occupation of our cities,” Abadi’s office quoted him telling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Ankara, where he arrived hours earlier.

“The PMF, today, is a part of the state’s security apparatus based on a law approved by the parliament,” Abadi added.

Muhandis (Jamal Jaafar Ibrahim),  is on the wanted list of Kuwaiti, American and Interpol authorities for perpetrating a 1983 car bombing that targeted the U.S. and France embassies in Kuwait in December 1983, which left six dead.


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