U.S. forces capture leader of paramilitary group in western Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-19 18:02:13|Editor: zh
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. forces on Thursday conducted an operation and captured a leader of a paramilitary Sunni tribal fighters over participating in rocket attack on an air base housing U.S. troops in Iraq's western province of Anbar, an official and a security sources said.

The U.S. troops conducted an airdrop operation before dawn on a house in Jubba area at the town of al-Baghdadi, some 190 km northwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and arrested Naseer al-Obeidi, a leader of local tribal fighters affiliated with the Hashd Shaabi forces, a local official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The source said that al-Obeidi was arrested over intelligence reports which said that he had participated earlier in the month in a rocket attack on the nearby Ain al-Asad air base, where hundreds of U.S. troops are stationed, the official said.

Meanwhile, a police officer in the town confirmed to Xinhua the U.S. operation and the arrest of al-Obeidi but refused to give further details because he is not authorized to speak to media.

On Dec. 3, five rockets struck the air base but caused no casualties, according to a statement by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.

The attack on the air base came ten days after an unannounced visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to meet with the U.S. troops in the air base.

Over 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State (IS) militants, mainly providing training and advising to the Iraqi forces.

The troops are part of the U.S.-led international coalition that has been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.