Ayatollah al-Sistani has vehemently condemned recent US airstrikes on several bases of the ‎Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), where more than two dozen fighters were killed.‎

RNA – Iraq’s most prominent Shi’ah cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani, has ‎vehemently condemned recent US airstrikes on several bases of the Iraqi Popular ‎Mobilization Units (PMU), where more than two dozen fighters were killed.‎

‎“The supreme religious authority condemns the criminal aggression that targeted a number ‎of official Iraqi forces and resulted in the martyrdom and wounds of many,” Ayatollah ‎Sistani’s office said in a statement on Monday.‎

It added that the “illegal practices carried out by some sides” must not be used as a reason ‎to violate Iraq’s sovereignty.‎

The statement came just a day after US forces conducted airstrikes on a number of Kata’ib ‎Hezbollah bases in the western province of Anbar.‎

The aerial aggression killed at least 27 individuals and wounded 51 others, according to the ‎latest toll released on Monday by the PMU, commonly known by its Arabic name Hashd al-‎Sha’abi. The targeted Kata’ib Hezbollah forces belonged to Brigades 45 and 46 of the PMU.‎

The Pentagon said in a statement on Sunday evening that the raids targeted weapons ‎storage facilities and command control locations, claiming that the bombings were in ‎response to attacks targeting American forces in Iraq.‎

‎“Iraqi authorities alone are entitled to deal with these practices and take the necessary ‎measures to prevent them. They are called upon to do so and to ensure Iraq does not ‎become a field for settling regional and international scores and that others do not interfere ‎in its internal affairs,” Ayatollah Sistani added.‎

PMU fighters played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, ‎northeast and north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, after the terrorists launched an offensive in ‎the country, overrunning vast parts in lightning attacks.‎

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also condemned the US airstrikes.‎

‎“The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an ‎unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences,” his office said in a ‎statement on Monday, adding that Baghdad will announce its official stance following a ‎meeting of the National Security Council later in the day.‎

Iraqi government threatens to review ties with US

In a related development, Iraq’s government threatened on Monday to “review” its relations ‎with the US after deadly airstrikes against the Popular Mobilization Units.‎

‎“American forces acted on their political priorities, not those of the Iraqis,” AFP quoted the ‎Iraqi government, which is acting in a caretaker capacity following the resignation of Prime ‎Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi‎, said in a statement. ‎

It added that the protection of Iraq, its military bases and forces in the country “is the sole ‎responsibility of the Iraqi security forces.”‎

The statement went on to note that such strikes “violate the sovereignty of Iraq” and ‎‎“contravene the rules of engagement of the (US-led international) coalition.”‎

The attacks “force Iraq to review its relations [with the United States] and its security, ‎political and legal framework to protect its sovereignty.”‎

Separately on Monday, at least 100 Iraqi lawmakers signed a petition calling for discussion of ‎the US airstrikes in parliament, the Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.‎

Ridha al-Haydar, the chairman of Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defence Commission, invited ‎the parliament to hold an emergency session to discuss the US aggression on the PMU bases ‎in Qaim, a town located nearly 400 kilometres northwest of the capital near the Syrian ‎border.‎

He described the aggression as an attack on the Iraqi military and sovereignty, calling on the ‎international community to take an immediate and explicit stance on US interference in the ‎affairs of various countries and its disrespect for their sovereignty.‎

Additionally on Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry also branded the strikes as “unacceptable ‎and counterproductive,” urging all sides to avoid fuelling tensions in the region.‎

‎“We consider such actions unacceptable and counterproductive. We call upon all parties to ‎refrain from further actions that could sharply destabilize the military-political situation in ‎Iraq, Syria, and the neighboring countries,” a ministry statement said.‎

Also on Monday, Syria denounced the US attack on Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, ‎expressing full solidarity with Iraq and its people, the official SANA news agency reported.‎

An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry of Syria said the country denounces ‎the US attack on the Popular Mobilization Forces, which defend Iraq’s sovereignty and ‎independence.‎

The unnamed sources also denounced any act of aggression that targets the sovereignty, ‎independence, and freedom of Iraq and its people.‎

The source added that Syria expresses its full solidarity with Iraq’s people and institutes, and ‎reiterates its call on the US to not interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq.‎

The source concluded by offering condolences to the families of those killed and injured in ‎US strikes.‎

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of “war on terror.” The invasion was followed ‎by rampant violence blamed largely on widespread opposition inside the country to the ‎foreign presence.‎

In June 2014, Iraq was attacked by Daesh. The issue of Daesh had reared its ugly head amid ‎the volatility.‎

Washington amassed a coalition soon afterwards, and began renewed wholesale operations ‎in the country.‎

According to Press TV, the terrorists, however, reportedly resurfaced in Iraq recently, despite the presence there of ‎around 5,000 US troops, and large-scale operations carried out by the coalition, which would ‎mostly feature indiscriminate bombings.‎

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also said on Monday that he is willing to work with the country’s ‎popular forces to end the United States military presence in Iraq through political and legal ‎means.‎

Reuters quoted him as saying that if this process does not work, he will “take other actions” ‎in cooperation with popular forces to kick out US troops.‎

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Source by [Rasa News Agency]