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Iran-Backed Kataib Hezbollah Has Long Targeted U.S. Forces

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The Wall Street Journal

Iran-Backed Kataib Hezbollah Has Long Targeted U.S. Forces

By Sune Engel Rasmussen and Isabel Coles

The Iranian-backed Iraqi militia targeted by U.S. airstrikes on Sunday was among the Shiite groups that joined in the fight against Islamic State. But for nearly two decades it has also attacked American forces and helped stoke sectarian strife in the Middle East.

One of the most secretive and influential Shiite militias in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah has close ties with the Quds Force, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard unit for international operations. The group was formed following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and gained a reputation from the outset for targeting U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq with roadside bombs and mortars. Kataib Hezbollah has said its main goal is to thwart the American project in the region and expel U.S. soldiers from Iraq.

Little is known about the Kataib Hezbollah group’s structure, but it is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, an umbrella for dozens of militias, many of them Shiite, of about 140,000 members that are part of the Iraqi security apparatus.

The PMF is the largest armed group in Iraq outside state control, and was formed in 2014 as the regular security forces were collapsing. With their growing importance in securing Iraq against Sunni extremists, the militias have gained political importance.

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-backed-kataib-hezbollah-has-long-targeted-u-s-forces-11577661868