Paramilitary group threatens to attack U.S. military in Iraq over Israel’s capital

Spc. Thomas Riggleman, driver, Personal Security Detachment, Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command - Operation Inherent Resolve, conducts M9 weapons training Feb. 12 in Baghdad, Iraq. The PSD team is dedicated to protecting the CJFLCC-OIR command team by providing safe and timely transportation. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Derrik Tribbey)

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem at the capital of Israel could potentially put U.S. military member’s lives at risk in the Middle East.

The first threat since the decision was made came from a prominent Iraqi Shi‘ite milita, Harakat Hezbollah al- Nujaba, which is backed by Iran.

“Trump’s stupid decision … will be the big spark for removing this entity (Israel) from the body of the Islamic nation, and a legitimate reason to target American forces,” the group’s leader Akram al-Kaabi said in a statement.

“Ties between the Shi‘ite-led governments in Tehran and Baghdad have become stronger, and Iran has acquired growing influence in Iraq,” Reuters reported in September. “Iranian money and religious backing are now key to the Iraqi government’s power.”

Iran’s support has made Harakat Al-Nujaba one of the largest paramilitaries that is operating inside Iraq.  U.S. forces have already fought with the group in Syria, during offensive that targeted the Tanf Military Base in southeast Homs, according to Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi (The Arab Source / المصدر نيوز).

Washington expected there to be a backlash to Trump’s decision and is weighing the potential threat to U.S. facilities and people, according to a State Department document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

“While I recognize that you will publicly welcome this news, I ask that you [Israel] restrain your official response,” the document said in talking points for diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to convey to Israeli officials.

“We expect there to be resistance to this news in the Middle East and around the world. We are still judging the impact this decision will have on U.S. facilities and personnel overseas,” the document said.

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