Qais al-Khazali (C) commander of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq pro-Iran faction attends the funeral procession of slain Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and eight others at the Imam Ali Shrine in the shrine city of Najaf in central Iraq, January 4, 2020. (Haidar HAMDANI/AFP)Qais al-Khazali (C) commander of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq pro-Iran faction attends the funeral procession of slain Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and eight others at the Imam Ali Shrine in the shrine city of Najaf in central Iraq, January 4, 2020. (Haidar HAMDANI/AFP)

The Iraqi Iranian-backed Shiite militia leader, Qais al-Khazali, on Wednesday said it was time for Iraq to respond to the U.S. airstrike.

According to him, the Iranian initial response to the killing of Iranian military leader is done.

Al-Khazali, the commander of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia, said in his tweet that the Iraqi response “will not be less than that of the Iran’s, and this is a promise.’’

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, or League of People of Righteousness, is part of Hashd Shaabi brigades.

The group was allegedly funded, trained and armed by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and later became allied to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Al-Khazali’s tweet came after Iran fired ballistic missiles earlier on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and near the city of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.


A statement released by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said that a total of 22 Iranian missiles were launched.

Of them, 17 struck the Ayn al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, and five landed on the U.S. headquarters near the city of Erbil.

“No casualties were recorded among the Iraqi forces, and more details to be released later,’’ the statement said.

The Iranian attack came three days after the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq and prevent them from using Iraqi airspace and waters.

On Friday, a U.S. drone attacked a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State militants, mainly providing training and advising for the Iraqi forces.

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