Saudis hit Iran’s key role as Iraqi offensive targets Fallujah; ISIL car bombs Baghdad

by WorldTribune Staff, May 30, 2016

Saudi Arabia condemned Iran’s “intervention” in Iraq as Iraqi forces began their push into Fallujah on May 29.

While U.S. special forces are on the front lines in Syria in a new offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Raqqa, Iran “has become the face of an operation to retake the jihadist stronghold of Fallujah from the militant group,” a report said.

A member of the Iraqi security forces fires artillery during clashes with Isis militants near Fallujah on May 29. /Reuters
A member of the Iraqi security forces fires artillery during clashes with ISIL near Fallujah on May 29. /Reuters

Saudi Arabia said the presence of Iranian military units in the Fallujah area is “unacceptable.”

“Sedition and division in Iraq are the results of sectarian policies that developed out of Iran’s policies in Iraq,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in a joint press briefing with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, in Jeddah.

“If Iran wants stability in Iraq, it has to stop intervening and withdraw,” al-Jubeir said, after accusing Teheran of sending “Shi’ite militias” to the war-torn country.

Reports say thousands of Iran-backed Shi’ite militiamen surrounded Fallujah ahead of an operation to retake it from ISIL. Iran insists its military in Iraq are there only as advisers and are there at Baghdad’s request.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the world’s pre-eminent Shi’ite religious leader who lives in Najaf in southern Iraq, is said to be concerned by Iran’s growing role in Iraq. Al-Sistani has urged security forces and militia to restrain themselves and abide by “the standard behaviors of jihad.”

Meanwhile, ISIL unleashed a wave of bombings in Iraq on May 30, killing at least 24 people.

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a checkpoint in the Shi’ite-dominated Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad, killing eight civilians and three soldiers. The explosion also wounded up to 14 people, a police officer said.

A suicide car bomber struck an outdoor market in the town of Tarmiyah, about 31 miles north of Baghdad, killing seven civilians and three policemen, another police officer said, adding that 24 people were wounded in that bombing.

In Baghdad’s eastern Shi’ite Sadr City district, a bomb motorcycle went off at a market, killing three and wounding 10, police said.