Four killed in armed clashes between rival Shiite militant groups in Iraq’s Basra – sources

Man looks at flames rising from oil refinery pipes in Basra, Iraq July 23, 2020. Picture taken July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Armed Clashes broke out early Thursday between rival Shiite militant groups in Iraq’s oil-rich Basra province, killing four including a commander of Muqtada al-Sadr’s armed group.

At least four people were killed in armed clashes that took place in the Iraqi city of Basra between rival Shiite militants groups overnight and on Thursday morning, local security sources said.

The clashes broke out between the military wing of powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iran-backed military group of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, two rival Shiite groups in Iraq’s political arena.

Two of the killed were members of Sadr’s military wing, Saraya al-Salam or peace brigades, among whom a commander included, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

“Basra’s incident was a criminal act, and several perpetrators were detained,” the Iraqi security media cell said.

Sadr’s proxy, Mohammed Salih al-Iraqi, in a statement expressed an angry outburst at Qais Khazli, the leader of the Iraqi paramilitary group of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq which is close to Iran.

It was the latest deadly violence to hit the country amid a political crisis fueled by the supporters of the powerful cleric Muqtada al-Sadr against mostly Iran-backed parties and paramilitary groups.

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