‘Assassinating’ Saudi envoy in Baghdad an ‘honor,’ says Iraqi militia chief

Despite threats from radical groups, the embassy’s operations to continue

Published: Updated:

Aws al-Khafaji, head of the Iraqi militia group Abu al-Fadhl al-abbas, which is currently part of the country’s anti-ISIS Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), said the Saudi ambassador to Iraq Thamer al-Sabhan is a “wanted person” and it is an “honor for everyone if he was assassinated.”

“The animosity of the Iraqi people towards Sabhan is obvious,” he added in an interview with Wesal TV on Monday.

On Sunday, sources told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat with full details that Iran has plans to assassinate the ambassador and has commissioned Shiite militia groups to do so.

The envoy, Sabhan, meanwhile, told Al Arabiya net that despite assassination threats from “sectarian radical groups,” the embassy’s operations will continue.

“We will not stop our support to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people deserve all the sacrifice and love. We will not only continue all our normal measures and tasks, but more than before,” he said.

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Wesal TV’s Host: When such a story is published with all the details, to what extent is it influential and what does the person who conveyed this to the newspaper [Asharq Al-Awsat], seek to achieve from this statement?

Khafaji: Sabhan is clearly against the Iraqi people. Thus many factions of the Iraqi people want to target him. On the contrary, if Sabhan was killed in Iraq, all the involved factions would proudly admit being behind his assassination, especially that he is wanted. He is politically irrelevant and many of the political parties in the Iraqi government want him out. We clearly stated that we do not want Sabhan in Iraq. We seek revenge against him. In fact, if he was assassinated in Iraq, it will be an honor and will be proudly admitted.