arming popular mobilization forces under iraqi government
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Arming Popular Mobilization forces under Iraqi government

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Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as he stressed that all weapons
Baghdad - Najla Al Taee

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Friday called for maintaining the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as he stressed that all weapons should be brought under the control of the Iraqi government.

Some assumptions that Sistani might abort the jihad fatwa surfaced, one week after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS. Yet, the former affirmed during Friday’s sermon that the threats jeopardizing Iraq demand maintaining a military effort equal to efforts of the Iraqi armed forces.

Abadi commented that the government has already commenced bringing weapons under state control. He welcomed Sistani’s call to not exploit what was done by the fighters for political or party purposes – in an approach to distant security institutions from the political work.

Haidar al-Ghourabi from the Hawza stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the religious reference urged the activation of the popular mobilization law to recognize a security force that falls under the ministries of defense and interior. Those enrolled would receive salaries and allocations from the state, which means that their tasks should be limited to the state and not to any political faction.”

Whether Sistani's call implied canceling his fatwa on jihad, Ghourabi said that these are two separate topics because when Sistani issued this fatwa it entailed a call for volunteering at the state security institutions.

Naeem al-Aboudi, spokesman for the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, added that if Sistani had wished to cancel the jihad fatwa then he would have stated that directly and clearly, that which didn't happen during Friday’s sermon.

He underscored that the “fatwa is practically still ongoing.”

“As for the PMF, even if Sistani said that the fatwa is over and volunteers should return home, this doesn’t dissociate the Popular Mobilization Forces because they are now a governmental institution,” Aboudi added.

On military side, Eight security personnel were killed and injured in a suicide attack, a security source said on Friday.

“Two persons were killed, while six others were wounded in a suicide attack that was launched against Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) in al-Howeish region, northwest of Samarra,” the source told Baghdad Today without giving further details.

The brigades took part in the summer of 2014 in liberation of regions in south of Salahuddin and others in Samarra and areas in its vicinity.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

A total of 117 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 264 injured, excluding police, in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 201 civilian casualties (51 killed, 150 injured). Salahaddin Governorate followed, with 24 killed and 60 injured, and Kirkuk had 12 killed and 28 injured.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

The war against IS has displaced nearly five million people, with tens of thousands of civilians and militants killed since the launch of the offensives to recapture occupied cities.

In the same context, The Iraqi consulate in Gaziantep, south of Turkey, received three Iraqi children who were rescued from Islamic State members, after years of abduction.

The three children were abducted three years ago in Sinjar, northwest of Mosul in Nineveh. They were found by an Iraqi citizen in Syria, Baghdad Today website reported on Thursday.

The citizen contacted the consulate in Gaziantep so the children would be transferred to their, the report added. They are supposed to head to Baghdad by aeroplane to reunite with their families there.

Meanwhile, Iraq Consul Mo’ayyad Omar Kuperli said in remarks that the citizen who found the children directly contacted him. The consulate then contacted the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and families of the children to return the children to them.

Sinjar region is the home of the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi religious minority which came under the international spotlight due to massacres and slavery they had endured under Islamic State militants’ rule.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

The war against IS has displaced nearly five million people, with tens of thousands of civilians and militants killed since the launch of the offensives to recapture occupied cities.

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