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June 22, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8811

Iraqi Shi'ite Militia Claims Responsibility For Attacks On U.S. Forces In Iraq

June 22, 2020
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8811

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On June 17, 2020, the League of Revolutionaries, a recently-formed Iraqi group that appears to be an Iranian proxy, released a video in which it claims responsibility for several attacks which it alleges were perpetrated against American forces in Iraq. Since it first appeared in March 2020, the group has claimed responsibility for firing missiles at the Taji Military Base[1] and released several videos in which it threatens to attack American interests in the country.[2]

In recent days, attacks on American targets in Iraq have increased, apparently due to the current negotiations taking place between the governments of Iraq and the U.S. about the relationship between the two, and about the future of the American forces in the country. For example, on June 13 the Iraqi army reported that Katyusha rockets were launched at the Taji Military Base.[3] Two days later it was reported that missiles had been fired at Baghdad International Airport.[4] On June 18 it was reported that four Katyusha rockets landed adjacent to the U.S. Embassy in the capital.[5]

The video, which was released on June 17 and runs for 3:23 minutes, was published on the League of Revolutionaries Telegram channel, which has more than 5,000 members. A narrator reads the group's claim of responsibility: "… With Allah's help the League of Revolutionaries perpetrated several quality actions against the American occupation forces at Al-Taji Base, at the airport and at the American Embassy in Baghdad, which caused tremendous damage to the occupation forces. Despite the manipulations of the results and the extent of the damage caused to them and despite their efforts to minimize [the extent] of our painful attacks, these actions have enormous influence in terrorizing the occupation forces and their agents. We call on our brothers in the Iraqi security forces to stop working with the occupation and to distance themselves as much as possible from their location. We strive to prevent as much as possible any harm to them and to protect them and the supreme interests of our beloved country. We promise the martyred commanders that we will continue to walk in their path and to oust the last remaining American soldiers…"

The statement was released along with aerial photographs of the targets and photographs of the missiles being launched at them. The video also claims that on June 8 the group launched missiles at the landing pad at the Taji Base when a Lockheed AC-130 was touching down. According to the statement, the plane crashed "which caused tremendous damage to the enemy."[6]


The above image is from the opening sequence of the video.

The video also includes aerial photographs of the U.S. Embassy compound with the caption: "Jihad warriors of the League of Revolutionaries follow the movements of the enemy in the espionage nest at the American Embassy before the location was attacked," as well as images of the purported launch of the missiles at the compound, which the group claims took place on June 11.

Furthermore, the group claims that it launched missiles at American forces which were at Baghdad International Airport on June 16, 2020.[7]

It should be noted that a Telegram channel belonging to supporters of the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed that some of the frames in the video were taken from clips released by the Ansar al-Sunnah organization, a Salafi jihadi organization which was active against the American forces in Iraq after 2003.[8]


The above image published on the pro-ISIS Telegram channel indicates the frames which were lifted from the Ansar al-Sunnah videos.

 

[1] The Taji Military Base is located only 30 km from Baghdad and is used by the U.S. and by the coalition forces in Iraq.

[3] Facebook.com/SecMedCell, June 13, 2020.

[4] Facebook.com/SecMedCell, June 15, 2020.

[5] Alarabiya.net, June 18, 2020.

[6] It should be noted that on June 9, 2020, Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins tweeted that there was a malfunction and "Enemy activity NOT suspected," Twitter.com/OIRSpox, June 9, 2020.

[7] Telegram.me/sisiosba, June 17, 2020.

[8] Telegram.me/mmm0010, June 18, 2020.

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