Iraqi police deny reports on clashes with Shiite militias in Salahuddin

Saraya al-Salam forces.

Baghdad ( – Iraqi police denied that one of its rapid response units clashed with militias of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Tuz Khurmatu district in Salahuddin.

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Knooz Media, Iraqi police said, “Al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam militias received a tip-off that a rapid response unit came under a terrorist attack near a security checkpoint in Salahuddin.”

“Immediately, the militias rushed to the incident site, but one of the policemen stationed at the checkpoint opened fire at them as he thought they were terrorists,” the statement explained. “The situation has been successfully contained.”

The statement highlighted that the unit’s commander “extended thanks to Saraya al-Salam fighters and praised their efforts to protect the city.”

Last December, Iraq’s top Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his fighters to hand state-issued weapons back to the government following the country’s defeat of the Islamic State group.

Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam fighters took up arms against the extremist group in 2014 after the fall of Mosul and are officially part of the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as al-Hashd al-Shaabi.

Sadr called on his fighters to also hand over parts of the territory they control to Iraq’s security forces, however, he stressed that his fighters would remain present as protectors of a holy Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

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