BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraq’s President Barham Salih says unity between the army, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have enabled the country to defeat the Daesh terrorist group.
“The liberation of the homeland from the defilement of terrorism was achieved by the unity between Iraqis from the army, Hashd and Peshmerga,” Salih said in a tweet on Sunday.
He stressed that “the victory won’t be completed without the consolidation of capable state and the rule of law and good governance”.
Salih’s remarks came on the anniversary of the fatwa (religious decree) issued by prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani after a number of Iraqi cities fell to Daesh, which led to the establishment of the Popular Mobilization Units.
In another development, Iraq’s anti-terror group Kata’ib Hezbollah warned that its forces will take American troops stationed in the Arab country by surprise, if they refuse to leave despite the parliament’s decision to expel them from Iraq.
“If the American forces do not leave the country, we will take them by surprise,” Al-Mayadeen television news network quoted Muhammad Mohi, a spokesman for Kata’ib Hezbollah, as saying on Sunday.
Any possible future attack on the U.S. troops in Iraq will be carried out by the resistance forces, not the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), the spokesman said, alluding to the fact that the PMU has been integrated into the Iraqi army and is now part of the country’s armed forces.
In another part of his statements, the spokesman warned about infiltration of Iraq’s intelligence services by foreign elements, noting that the infiltration is aimed at reviving the Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups in the country.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
On June 12, 2014, Daesh terrorists killed around 1,700 Iraqi air force recruits after kidnapping them from Camp Speicher, a former U.S. base in northern Iraq. There were reportedly around 4,000 unarmed cadets in the camp when it came under attack by Daesh.
Following the abductions, the attackers took the victims to Tikrit’s complex of presidential palaces and executed them. The terrorists also threw some of the bodies into a river.
The massacre was filmed by Daesh and broadcast on social media.
Iraqi authorities said Sunday the remains of 123 people killed by Daesh terrorist group had been removed from a mass grave in a bid to identify them.
The Badush prison massacre was one of the worst crimes Daesh carried out after it seized control of a third of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014.
In June that year, Daesh terrorists attacked the northwestern prison, forcing 583 mainly Shia prisoners into trucks, before driving them to a ravine and shooting them.
In recent weeks, dozens of family members of the victims have given blood samples, which will be compared to the DNA of the remains, which were found in the mass graves in 2017.