Coalition denies bombing Iraqi Shiite militia

Smoke billows out from Raqqa, Syria, following a US-led coalition air strike on July 28, 2017. The coalition fighting Daesh was accused on Tuesday of an attack in Syria's border town of Al-Tanf, killing dozens of members of an Iraqi Shiite militia. (AFP file photo)
Updated 08 August 2017

Coalition denies bombing Iraqi Shiite militia

BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition fighting Daesh denied responsibility on Tuesday for an attack near the Syrian border, which killed dozens of members of an Iraqi Shiite militia and, that group said, several of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
A spokesman for the Iran-backed Kataib Sayyid Al-Shuhada militia said 36 of its fighters had been killed in the attack on Monday and 75 others were wounded and receiving treatment.
“We hold the American army responsible for this act,” the militia said in a statement late on Monday, noting that they were targeted with smart rockets.
The US-led coalition, which is attacking Daesh militants from the air in Syria and Iraq, said the allegations were “inaccurate” and denied conducting air attacks in that area at the time.
In a statement circulated by its supporters, Daesh claimed it was responsible for the attack and said it had captured armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition. The Iraqi Defense Ministry declined to comment.
As Daeshis driven back by an array of forces in Iraq and Syria, its opponents and their regional patrons are vying for control of territory and seeking to secure their interests in the wider region within a shrinking battlespace.
Monday’s attack took place near At Tanf in Syria, where US forces have twice before struck Iranian-backed militia in defense of a garrison used by US and US-backed forces.
Iran-backed Kataib Sayyid Al-Shuhada is part of an umbrella of Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, which is answerable to Baghdad, but includes factions loyal to Iran’s clerical leadership.
In an interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Abu Ala Welayi, Kataib Sayyid Al-Shuhada’s leader, accused the US and Daesh of jointly attacking his forces.
He said seven Revolutionary Guards had been killed, one of them being Hossein Qomi, their main commander and strategist.
No spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards was immediately available to comment.


UN Libya envoy ‘quite optimistic’ on ceasefire prospects

Updated 33 min 45 sec ago

UN Libya envoy ‘quite optimistic’ on ceasefire prospects

  • The UN’s Libya envoy said Wednesday she was 'quite optimistic' on ceasefire prospects

GENEVA: The UN’s Libya envoy said Wednesday she was “quite optimistic” about the prospects of talks in Geneva between the two warring factions producing a ceasefire.
“I’m qute optimistic... there is an air of seriousness and commitment,” Stephanie Williams, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told a press conference, after the sides agreed to open internal land and air routes.