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Iraq: Kataib Hezbollah ready to arm ’12,000 fighters’ in Jordan

April 3, 2024 at 12:19 pm

A general view taken from Jabal al-Qala district shows a Jordanian flag fluttering above the Jordanian capital Amman [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Iraqi resistance faction Kataib Hezbollah said on Monday that it is prepared to arm its Jordanian counterparts “to defend our Palestinian brothers.” The announcement was made by Abu Ali Al-Askari, a senior official in the Iran-backed group, which is also part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq coalition within the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).

“The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has prepared its equipment to equip our brothers, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan, to meet the need of 12,000 fighters with light and medium weapons, anti-armour launchers, tactical missiles, ammunition and tons of explosives,” said Al-Askari on Telegram. “This effort aims to form a unified force to defend our Palestinian brothers. Let us start with the disruption of the land route leading to the Zionist entity.”

Jordan is notable in being one of the Arab states that have opened a land bridge to the occupation state to bypass the Houthis’ Red Sea blockade, providing food and goods, although this is denied by the government. Protestors have been gathering outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman over the ongoing war in Gaza and to demand the closure of the trade route.

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Al-Askari’s comments also came after Israel’s air strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, killing two senior members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The targeted killing followed a drone attack hours before in the southern Israeli port city of Eilat, which was claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

More and more protestors have been gathering in front of the embassy. They appear to be better organised and have made more demands despite Jordan’s intense diplomatic efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and deliver aid to the Palestinians.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, an Iraqi security official dismissed Kataib Hezbollah’s announcement. “The situation in Iraq doesn’t allow for the arming of groups outside the country for the purpose of carrying out ‘suspicious’ activity,” said the official, on condition of anonymity. “Iraq will not allow the violation of the sovereignty of a brotherly neighbour.” He added that there are “no indications on the ground” that arms could be delivered to fighters in Jordan.

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