Iraqi commander rejects claim on assassination plot against Saudi envoy

A high-ranking Iraqi military official has dismissed a claim by Saudi-linked media that fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Baghdad.

Speaking to Arabic-language al-Forat news agency on Sunday, Brigadier General Saad Moen, the spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, also said that the Saudi diplomatic mission in Baghdad has not communicated with the Iraqi security forces at all concerning any alleged attempt to assassinate Ambassador Thamer al-Sabhan.

Moen further highlighted that Iraqi government forces are effectively ensuring the security of diplomatic compounds and figures, calling on reporters and journalists to corroborate claims before publishing them.

The top Iraqi military figure implied that such reports are conspiracies to undermine his country’s security personnel.

Moen’s comments came in response to a report published by the London-based Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that claimed Popular Mobilization Units, among them the Khorasan Battalion and Abu Fadl Al-Abbas forces, sought to assassinate Sabhan by targeting his convoy with “rocket-propelled grenades.”

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia and pro-Riyadh media outlets have taken measures aimed at slandering the Shia volunteer forces in Iraq.

The Popular Mobilization Units have been successfully assisting regular military forces in Iraq to liberate areas overrun by Takfiri Daesh terrorists. Numerous attempts by Saudi Arabian officials to undermine the Shia forces have raised suspicions about ties between Riyadh and Daesh.

Earlier, the Saudi foreign minister, who himself has a record of making claims of assassination plots against him, called for the dissolution of the Popular Mobilization Units, a demand that was rejected outright by Faleh al-Fayyad, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s national security adviser.

Fayyad said Riyadh is not in a position to make comments about the issue.

“Adel al-Jubeir’s remarks in which he called for the dismantling of the Popular Mobilization Units reflect the scope of his narrow-mindedness,” Fayyad said on June 30.

Sabhan, the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, had been warned by Iraqi officials against interfering in the Iraqi internal affairs before, too. In June, Prime Minister Abadi also strongly advised the Saudi ambassador to Baghdad to remain committed to his diplomatic duties only and avoid meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs.

Abadi has also praised the volunteer Popular Mobilization Units several times.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.

Iraqi government forces and the Popular Mobilization Units have been fighting the terrorists ever since.


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