Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen And Bahrain Condemn U.S. Attack On Iraqi PMU Officials In Baghdad; Threaten ‘Stupefying’ Response Against U.S., ‘Its Helpers, Partners And Interests’ In The Region

On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that at 9:30 p.m. (Baghdad time) its forces conducted a unilateral strike in Iraq in response to the attacks on U.S. service members, killing an Iran-backed Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region.[1] Media sources affiliated with the Iran-backed militias in Iraq reported that several operatives from the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) were killed, including a senior leaders of the Hizbullah Brigades (which is part of the PMU) Wisam Muhammad Saber aka Abu Baqir Al-Sa’idi and also an official by the name of Hajj Arkan Al-‘Alyawi.[2]

Spokesmen for the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain harshly condemned the American operation and called to respond to it in a “stupefying” manner and to avenge the blood of the martyrs with an “attack on the U.S., its helpers, its partners and its interests” in the region. The same spokesmen pointed out that the operatives who were attacked belonged to the official Iraqi group PMU, and stated that therefore the attack was a glaring violation of Iraqi sovereignty and of “the sanctity of [Iraqi] blood and land.” They also called on the government of Iraq to demand of the UN Security Council that it immediately order the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

The following are reactions from Iran-backed militias to the American strike in Iraq on February 7, 2024:

Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq: The American Attack Is A Violation Of “The Sanctity Of [Iraqi] Blood And Land;” “Our Response Will Be Focused”

On February 8, 2024, Iran-backed Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades militia leader Abu Hussein Al-Hamidawi congratulated the Islamic nation and the Iraqi people for the martyrdom of “the great commander” Abu Baqir Al-Sa’idi in the bombing attack by “the American occupation” forces, and asserted that his death was a call to the members of the organization “to persist on the path of jihad.”[3]

On the same day, the Iran-backed Iraqi Al-Nujaba Movement called to avenge the blood of ‘the martyrs” by attacking “the U.S., its helpers, its partners and its interests,” in the region, and added, “let this be our path and our interest from now on.” The movement mentioned that Al-Sa’idi belonged to an official Iraqi group that is connected to the General Command of the armed forces, and asserted that an attack on it constituted an attack on Iraqi sovereignty and on “the sanctity of [Iraqi] blood and land.” It exhorted the Iraqi public to take note of “this contempt for Iraqi blood” and warned that such attacks would not be limited to the heads of the PMU or the resistance, but in the future would also be directed at everyone who stood up to “this oppressive and occupying entity.” It called on the Iraqi government to take “a firm and determined official stand” against the violation of the country’s sovereignty and threatened, “our response will be focused, with Allah’s help. These crimes will not go unpunished. So be aware that our patience has run out. Wait for the response. We will choose the appropriate time and place.”[4]

Also on February 8, 2024, “the Islamic Resistance in Bahrain” – which includes the Al-Ashtar Companies and the Wa’d Allah Companies – also congratulated the Hizbullah Brigades for the martyrdom of “the brave jihad fighter” Al-Sa’idi, who it described as having died as “a martyr on the road to Jerusalem.” The group added that Al-Sa’idi’s brothers on the path of jihad and resistance vowed to continue on this path “until the liberation of our Islamic nation from enslavement to the forces of arrogance.” It also maintained that “these great sacrifices will not deter the mujahideen and the freemen [from their path] but will increase their determination and their belief in the justness of their position and their path.”[5]

On February 8, 2024, Iran-backed Iraqi Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haqq militia leader Qais Khazali posted on his X account that it is clear that America does not intend to end its attacks and violations against Iraq’s sovereignty, “despite the positive steps taken by the Iraqi government and the resistance factions’ promise of calm.” Al-Khazali called on the Iraqi government to file a formal request with the UN Security Council for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq, as well as to begin taking practical steps to bolster its defensive capabilities.”[6]

Hizbullah: The Crimes Of The Americans Will Strengthen The Adherence Of The Mujahideen To The Path Of Jihad

Also on February 8, Hizbullah issued an official statement in which it asserted that the American attack was a continuation of the American crimes and continued aggression against the peoples of the Islamic nation in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, claiming that it was a glaring violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and security. In addition, it contended that the resistance movements in the region are fully confident that the Iraqi mujahideen will adhere to the path of resistance and will continue to support the Palestinian people.[7]

Ansar Allah Movement: A “Stupefying Response” Is Required; “Break The Arrogance And Oppression Of The American-Israeli-British Triangle Of Evil”

Another February 8 condemnation came from the Houthi Ansar Allah movement political bureau which described the American operation as, “Criminal and cowardly aggression in the framework of the American support for the Zionist entity.” It went on to state that the attack on Al-Sa’idi was an attack on the entire Iraqi people and that “the American presence in Iraq and in the region is the main reason for the erosion of security and stability.” It also asserted that such attacks “will not influence the position of the Muslim peoples and won’t dissuade them from continuing to provide support and assistance to the Palestinian people in Gaza.”[8]

On February 7, on his X account, Houthi Political Bureau member Ali Al-Qahoum also condemned the American operation and wrote, “We stress before all the freemen and the resistance movements in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Palestine, in the region, and in the entire world – we are with you and in your situation. This is a battle of all the freemen for Palestine and Gaza and for the defense of the interests of the Arab Islamic nation, until the victory and eradication of Israel.” He called on “the resistance” to respond to the American operation in “a stupefying” manner and to combine forces with the aim of “breaking the arrogance and the oppression of the triangle of evil [comprised] of the U.S., Israel and Britain and to extract by the roots their colonialist projects in the region.”[9] [1] Twitter.com/CENTCOM, February 7, 2024.

[2] See MEMRI JTTM Report: Iran-Backed Telegram Outlets: Two Senior Hizbullah Brigades Leaders Killed In U.S. Airstrike In Baghdad, February 7, 2024.

[3] February 8, 2024.

[4] Telegram, February 7, 2024.

[5] Telegram, February 8, 2024.

[6] Twitter, February 8, 2024.

[7] February 8, 2024.

[8] February 8, 2024.

[9] Twitter, February 7, 2024

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