By Haydar Karaalp
BAGHDAD (AA) – A pro-Iranian faction of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, a largely Shia contingent of the Iraqi army, has vowed to use all “legitimate” means to expel “occupying forces” still deployed in the country.
In a Wednesday statement, the faction described foreign troops still deployed in Iraq as “invaders” who “must be driven out”.
“Our patience has run out with the unjustified presence of foreign troops still deployed in Iraq,” the statement read.
“We regard these troops as occupying forces and will use all legitimate means at our disposal to expel them,” it added.
The statement went on to urge firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Sairoon coalition swept Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll, not to bow to alleged U.S. pressure regarding formation of the country’s next government.
A predominantly Shia fighting force, the Hashd al-Shaabi (or “popular mobilization” units) was drawn up in late 2014 to fight the Daesh terrorist group.
Last year, the Hashd al-Shaabi was formally incorporated into the Iraqi army despite accusations of having committed rights violations in parts of the country under its control.