In response to the January 2, 2020 assassination of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian IRGC's Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi (Popular Moilization Forces – PMF), Iraqi Shi'ite militias implicitly threatened to target U.S. bases in Iraq, warning the Iraqi security forces to keep away from them starting January 5 in the evening. In addition, an official in the militias called to enable "martyrdom-seekers" to volunteer for suicide missions against the foreign forces in Iraq.
The following is a translation of these statements:
A January 4 announcement by the Hizbullah Brigades' Special Operations Command called on the Iraqi forces to "maintain a distance of at least one kilometer from the bases of the American enemy, starting Sunday evening," and added: "The commanders of the [Iraqi] security forces must uphold the principle of ensuring the safety of their troops and not let them be used as human shields for the occupying crusaders."
Hizbullah Brigades emblem
On January 3, 2020, the Hizbullah Brigades military chief, Abu 'Ali Al-'Askari, called to provide "martyrdom seekers" with the opportunity to volunteer for suicide missions against the foreign forces in Iraq. He tweeted: "'Mobilize, light or heavy, and strive with your possessions and your lives in the cause of God' [Quran 9:2]. I call to open registration for martyrdom seekers to carry out martyrdom operations against the foreign crusader occupation forces. I would be honored to be the first to sign up, and with Allah's help I will be the first of the martyrdom seekers."
Abu 'Ali Al-'Askari 's tweet
The Al-Nujaba movement likewise threatened attacks against U.S. bases. A statement from the commander of its Special Force, whose name was not given, read: "Our position is consistent and similar to that of our brothers in the Hizbullah Brigades. We echo the call to the security apparatuses to keep their distance from the American bases starting Sunday evening, and also call on Iraqis to stay away from American security companies and their vehicles."
Al-Nujaba's military chief said: "The procession of jihad led by the two great martyrs [Soleimani and Al-Muhandis] will not stop with their death, since its goal is unchanging: the removal of your filthy [American] bases and the removal... of Israel. The blood of the great martyrs has kindled in our hearts a fire that will only cool after we press your noses into the mud... It is we who will choose the time and nature of the response... Your only option is to suffer the hell of our fire, for our missiles are prepared, our rifles are loaded, and the forces are ready and waiting [only] for the leaders' orders to open up hell on earth for your invading and occupying troops... The martyr Soleimani was with us when we thwarted all your despicable plots. Today he is a martyr, and we say, "The era of thwarting plots is ended, and the era of eliminating the plotter himself has begun... You made a mistake, and it will cost you dearly. You chose [to start] a war whose end will not be yours [to determine]; rather, your end will come in [its] beginning."