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UK ambassador to Iraq targeted with threatening messages

Britain’s ambassador to Iraq has been targeted by a graphic propaganda campaign featuring an image of his bloodied face after he spoke out against militia groups which are strengthening their grip on the war-torn country. 

Stephen Hickey, who has served in the post since last September, was singled out by militiamen after he encouraged Iraq to turn its back on armed groups that operate outside the law. 

In response, one militia group with ties to the Iranian regime published a series of posts on the messaging app Telegram which warned the senior diplomat to keep his views to himself. 

“Stop lying and mind your own business and represent your old country as a diplomat,” reads one of the messages seen by the Telegraph. It was posted by Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shia militia group backed by Iran. 

The warning was accompanied by two polaroid-style photographs of Mr Hickey which were edited so that his face and head were smeared with blood. 

Founded in 2013, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba reportedly has around 10,000 fighters and is subject to US sanctions. 

Another message told the British ambassador to stop playing “malicious games” by addressing the issue of militia groups in Iraq, and a third warned him “not to intervene in issues that are bigger than you.”