US to designate Iraqi militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haqq as terrorist entity

Qais al-Khazali,the leader of the militant Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haqq, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

The United States has announced it will designate Iraqi militant group Asaib Ahl al-Haqq, also known as AAH,  as a foreign terrorist entity in addition to the group’s leaders Qais and Laith al-Khazali, according to a statement by the US State Department.

“AAH and its leaders are violent proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“Acting on behalf of their masters in Tehran, they use violence and terror to further the Iranian regime’s efforts to undermine Iraqi sovereignty,” he added.

AAH is extensively funded and trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, an entity that was part of the IRGC designation as an FTO in April 2019.

Earlier in the day, Iran-backed Iraqi militia commander Qais al-Khazali ordered his fighters to be on high alert for an upcoming battle and said that US military presence in Iraq would end soon.

“All fighters should be on high alert for upcoming battle and great victory. The price for the blood for the martyred commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is the complete end to American military presence in Iraq,” local TV channel al-Ahd which is close to his Asaib Ahl al-Haqq militia quoted him as saying.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05