INA – BAGHDAD
Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi informed the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper of his strong refusal to attack the Popular Mobilization Forces, while he ordered upon the prevention of any unilateral ground or air action without the approval of the Iraqi government.
"The locations of the 45th Brigade of the Popular Mobilization Forces stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian borders to fight Daesh terrorist gangs, were subjected to air strikes this evening and the attacks resulted in martyrdom and wounding a large number of forces,” stated the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf to Iraqi News Agency – INA.
"The attack was preceded by a half-hour call from US Defense Secretary Mark Asper to Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, where he told him that there will be attacks to be carried out on Popular Mobilization sites that US suspected them as the ones that launched the rockets on the K1 base in Kirkuk resulted in a number of killed and wounded both from US and Iraqi forces,” included the statement.
Khalaf pointed out that the Iraqi Prime Minister expressed his strong rejection of this unilateral decision and his concern that this would lead to further escalation and demanded to stop it immediately, and the continuation of joint investigations to diagnose the forces that attacked K1 and to take appropriate measures.
He quoted the Prime Minister, “We have previously confirmed our rejection of any unilateral action by the coalition forces or any other forces inside Iraq, and we consider it as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region,”
He clarified that " the US Secretary of Defense's call with the Prime Minister synchronized a call that was made by the US Chargé d'Affairs in Iraq to the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, and he informed of US intentions to attack. The President replied,’This contradicts our agreements. It is harmful to Iraq and is unacceptable’ the correct way is to support the Iraqi government to carry out with its security duties,"
Abdul-Mahdi ordered all the military units to take precautionary measures to avoid the loss of human, and he also told the Iraqi Joint Operations Command to prevent any unilateral ground or air action without the approval of the Iraqi government.
He also ordered to hold an emergency meeting of the Ministerial Council for National Security to take the necessary measures to protect the Iraqis and preserve the security and sovereignty of Iraq.