Leader Of Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia Meets With Designated Hamas Terrorist In Baghdad, Reiterates His Support Of The Palestinian Cause

October 30, 2023

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On October 29, 2023, the information bureau of Qais Al-Khazali, secretary-general of the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq, published photos of a meeting between the Iraqi militia leader and a Hamas delegation, held at Al-Khazali's office in Baghdad.[1]

The Hamas delegation was led by Lebanon-based commander Osama Hamdan, whom the United States has named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and included Muhammad Al-Hafi, a member of the Arab and Islamic Relations Office.

The meeting comes after an October 26 report in the Lebanese Hizbullah-affiliated Lebanese daily, Al-Akhbar, claimed that Al-Khazali "opposes" attacks carried out by the so-called "Islamic Resistance in Iraq" on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria in support of the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel.[2]

Topics Of Discussion

Al-Khazali's office spokesperson said that the meeting aimed to "discuss developments of the situation in Gaza."

According to a post published on the office's Telegram channel, the Hamas delegation included Hamdan, Al-Hafi, and "the rest of their delegation," without further names.

The post claimed that the talks largely focused on the fight against Israel, championing the attack, and continuing war.

"Over the meeting, the parties went over the most important developments taking place in the Gaza Strip, the steadfastness of the resistance, and the bravery of its men in confronting the most violent attack carried out by the usurping occupation entity," using a term to refer to Israel without naming the country.

Speaking in his capacity as a militia leader, Al-Khazali emphasized his support for the Palestinian cause.

"Sheikh Khazali also affirmed the firm position of Iraq in general, and the resistance factions in particular, towards the crucial issues of the Islamic nation, most notably the Palestinian issue."

Hamas officials thanked Al-Khazali for his backing.

"At the conclusion of the meeting, the delegation of the Islamic Resistance in Hamas extended its sincere thanks to the sheikh for his support of the issues of the oppressed and resistant peoples, including the Palestinian people, who are patient and mujahid," using the singular term for mujahideen – guerilla fighters who combat non-Muslim forces.

Hamdan is categorized by the U.S. government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He was among six names circulated by Hamas as representatives authorized to conduct appearances in the English-language media.[3]

Al-Khazali's communications office included three images of the meeting, showing the sheikh, Hamdan, Al-Hafi, and a fourth person who is not named in the post. The four people sit in a semi-circle in a fashionably decorated but largely empty room. In the third photo, a fifth unidentified individual can be seen in the reflection on a glass door. This presence is not explained in the post.

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