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Israeli attacks declaration of war on Iraqi nation: Parliamentary group

Members of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi carry the coffin of their comrade Kazem Mohsen, known by his nom de guerre Abu Ali al-Dabi, during his funeral procession in Najaf, Iraq, August 26, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

An Iraqi parliamentary bloc representing the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), or Hashd al-Sha’abi, says the recent Israeli acts of aggression targeting the pro-government military force amount to “a declaration of war” on the Arab country. 

In a statement released on Monday, the Fatah (Conquest) alliance held the United States accountable for the drone strikes on PMU bases over the past few weeks, which are widely reported to have been carried out by the Tel Aviv regime.

“While we reserve the right to respond to these Zionist attacks, we hold the international coalition, particularly the United States, fully responsible for this aggression, which we consider a declaration of war on Iraq and its people,” read the statement.

It also called for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, stressing that they are no longer needed there.

The latest such drone attacks struck Sunday a PMU convoy near the Iraqi town of al-Qa’im close to the Syrian border. It killed Kazem Mohsen, 45th PMU Brigade logistical support chief who was also known by his nom de guerre Abu Ali al-Dabi, and severely wounded another fighter.

The PMU said that the deadly strike was launched under “air cover over the area from American planes.”

On Monday, hundreds of Iraqis held a funeral for the victim, marching behind a banner with the words, “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Some of the mourners trampled on a US flag as they marched.

Iraqi Lawmaker Ahmed al-Asadi said the parliament would hold an emergency meeting in the coming days “to discuss this issue and take the appropriate decisions.”

Separately on Monday, Iraqi President Barham Saleh hosted a meeting with Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi and PMU leaders regarding the aerial assaults.

A statement issued after the meeting described the attacks as a “blatant act of aggression” meant to drag the PMU away from its role of eradicating remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

“These attacks are a blatant, hostile act that target Iraq,” it said, adding, “Iraqi sovereignty and the well-being of its people are a red line.”

It further stressed that the Iraqi government would take all necessary steps to “deter aggressors and defend Iraq.”

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf expressed Baghdad’s readiness to take all available diplomatic and legal actions to prevent the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Israeli attacks began on July 19 when a drone dropped explosives onto a PMU base near the town of Amerli, in Salahuddin Province, killing at least one resistance fighter and injuring four others.

Unnamed American officials confirmed that Israel had been behind the attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hinted on Thursday at possible Israeli strikes in Iraq.

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