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Asa’ib leader says group reserves right to respond to Israeli plots to destabilize Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, members of the Iraqi Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, which is part of Iraq’s anti-terror Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, trample on the Israeli flag as they parade in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 31, 2019. (Photo by AP)

The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, which is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units or Hashd al-Sha’abi, has raised the alarm over Israeli plots for the Arab country, saying Iraqi resistance groups reserve the right and are prepared to respond to any act of aggression by the regime.

“Israeli attacks have killed several young Iraqi resistance fighters. We, therefore, reserve the right to answer back. The blood of our martyrs killed at the hands of the Zionist regime’s mercenaries will not be forgotten,” Qais al-Khazali said in an interview with Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Ahad television network on Monday evening.

He added, “The hostility of the Israeli regime is continuing, and it is responsible for the destruction of Iraq. There are documents and confessions that show Israeli agents were seeking the disbandment of the Iraqi army.”

Khazali said Iraqi resistance groups are part of the “equation of deterrence” set out by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group’s secretary general.

He said that Israel will not stop targeting Iraq due to its Zionist ideology, and that the Tel Aviv regime considers the Arab country as a major enemy and threat.

Back in August 2019, an Iraqi legislator said evidence had pointed to the involvement of the Israeli regime in an attack on Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters, stating that the Tel Aviv regime was seeking to weaken the forces.

Speaking with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network at the time, Karim Alaiwi, a member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, said it is known that many attacks on targets in Iraq were carried out by Israeli planes, including the attacks on Camp Amerli and Camp Saqr, stressing that the evidence pointed to Israel being behind the airstrikes.

Alaiwi suggested that since the Iraqi airspace is controlled by the US Air Force, Israel could not have struck the bases without Washington’s knowledge.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq chief warned of conspiracies by certain embassies as well as assassination bids targeting tribal leaders and civil activists in the run-up to Iraq’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for October 10. 

“Attempts are underway to plunge the (southeastern) Iraqi province of Maysan into chaos just like Dhi Qar Province. Israel is carrying out a spate of assassinations in southern Iraq through its Iraqi agents,” Khazali said.

Khazali also warned that credible information indicates that a conspiracy targeting civil society activists has been hatched, and the plotters aim to lay the blame at the door of resistance groups.

Key figures of Iraqi resistance groups would also be targeted to throw the country into great turmoil, the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq leader pointed out.

“We warn civil activists not to trust staffers of Western embassies as they would simply victimize them to achieve their goals. They are actually intelligence agents operating under the guise of diplomats to justify their activities. We also warn Iraqi resistance fighters to be cautious and exercise vigilance,” he said.

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