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Dozens Reported Killed in US Airstrike on Iraqi PMU

The recent airstrike is not the first time that US forces have bombed pro-government fighters in Iraq.The recent airstrike is not the first time that US forces have bombed pro-government fighters in Iraq.

The US air force has carried out an airstrike on an Iraqi militia unit called Sayyed al-Shuhada, which belongs to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units. The airstrike took place in Anbar Province, close to Iraq’s border with Syria, the Iraq-based Kurdish media group Rudaw reports.

According to reports, 35 fighters were killed and 25 were injured in the airstrike on Monday night. PMU commanders are reportedly among the dead, Sputnik reported.

PMU commander Ali Hasim Huseyni confirmed the incident in conversation with Sputnik Turkiye.

“US planes bombed fighters of the Sayyed al-Shuhada unit. The wounded have been taken to hospitals in Iraq for treatment. Some of them are in a serious condition. The region in which they were attacked is located on the Iraqi-Syrian border, 20 km from the city of El Baac. We strongly condemn this deliberate attack.”

The recent airstrike is not the first time that US forces have bombed pro-government fighters in Iraq. In October, an airstrike conducted by the US-led coalition in Iraq “most likely” killed around 20 pro-government Sunni tribal fighters south of Mosul, a defense official told AFP.

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, or Hashd al Sha’abi, comprise of some 100,000 fighters who are mostly Shia. They have played a vital role in anti-terrorist operations in Mosul and elsewhere.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament gave the PMU the power of law enforcement agencies, which basically provides the militia with the same powers as the government army and police.

In a statement on Monday, the militia unit said “We announce that this action will not pass unpunished. We call for the protection of the Iraqi-Syrian border and preventing the Americans from exploiting these borders to pass their agenda.”

The PMU is a group of fighters that emerged after the birth of the self-styled Islamic State terror group in Iraq in 2014. In the early days of the IS terror campaign, the then-volunteer force played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of lightning advances by the terrorists.

The US has also bombed militia fighting IS in neighboring Syria. On June 8, the US-led coalition bombed pro-Assad militia near al-Tanf in the area of a de-conflict zone following an alleged attack by a combat drone resulting in no coalition forces’ casualties. It was the third attack by the coalition on Damascus’ allies in the area.

 

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