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Iraq Shia militias to investigate attacks on US embassy in Green Zone

Residents gather at a site after several rockets land at Khair Khana, north west of Kabul on November 21, 2020. - A series of loud explosions shook central Kabul on November 21, including several rockets that landed near the heavily fortified Green Zone where many embassies and international firms are based, officials said. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Residents gather at a site after several rockets land at Khair Khana, north west of Kabul on November 21, 2020 [WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images]

The umbrella group of Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq, known as the Hashd Al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), have begun investigating rocket attacks on the US embassy and the Green Zone in the capital Baghdad.

According to an Iraqi government source cited by the news outlet Shafaq News, the PMF has set up a committee to investigate the continued attacks on the Green Zone and the US embassy in Baghdad. It comes a day after eight Katyusha rockets were fired at the zone by unidentified people on Sunday, causing damage to residential buildings and at least one civilian casualty.

The source stated that the order to form the committee "was issued by the head of the commission, Faleh Al-Fayyad, after an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi last night."

The investigative committee is reportedly headed by none other than Abdulaziz Al-Muhammadawi, the head of the controversial and influential Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah, one of the very groups suspected of carrying out the attacks.

Rockets have been fired at Baghdad's international zone and the US embassy throughout the year, leading the US to warn the Iraqi government to prevent the attacks or risk having the embassy and diplomatic mission removed from the country.

READ: It is time for the Iran-backed axis militias to be treated exactly like Daesh

The US government then drew up a list of 80 sites used by the PMF's militias that it planned to strike if the attacks continued, after which the militias agreed in October on a "conditional ceasefire" to halt their attacks if the Iraqi government presented a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

Then last month, despite the US administration of President Donald Trump announcing the further withdrawal of thousands more US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan by 15 January, its embassy was again targeted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has long promised to tackle the rampant Iran-backed Shia militias which are influential in the Iraqi armed forces and political parties, and which have conducted numerous assassinations of critics and activists.

Although efforts have been made to limit their influence on the country's armed forces and society by conducting raids on militia headquarters and arresting several members, many claim that enough is not being done and that the militias are not being adequately confronted.

For the investigative committee to be formed and headed by figures and militias from the PMF, therefore, has caused criticism amongst many regarding the impact and sincerity of such an investigation.

READ: Kadhimi is dancing with snakes without a flute

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