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US forces detain top Hashd al-Shaabi commander in western Iraq

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US military forces have reportedly conducted an operation and arrested a leader of tribal fighters affiliated to the Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in the country’s western province of Anbar, but refused to give any reasons for the detention.

An unnamed source in the provincial command of the voluntary forces, better known by the Arabic name Hashad al-Sha’abi, said that US troops carried out an airdrop operation early on Thursday in an area of Khan al-Baghdadi city, which lies close to the Ain al-Asad air base, where hundreds of American troops are stationed, and detained Naseer al-Obeidi.

The source added that Obeidi is a prominent figure within the PMU, and that Americans have not provided any information about the reason for the arrest or the charges against him.

Last week, thousands of supporters of the PMU staged a rally in the capital Baghdad to express their resentment over the United States’ interference in Iraq’s internal affairs after the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several leaders of the voluntary forces.
On Saturday, supporters of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, converged on Firdos Square in the heart of Baghdad, which became world-renowned when Iraqis pulled down the statue of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein there following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and walked on a makeshift US flag during a demonstration against the US sanctions on the group’s leader Qais Khazali.

They also installed gallows at the side of a road, and hung the effigies of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from them.
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