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Former Iraqi Hizballah fighter: Militia weapons storage in Iraq could lead to explosion like Beirut

Date: August 18, 2020

Time: 07:45 pm

Location: Baghdad

The following is based on interviews. The first interview is with Omer, 23 (a former fighter with Ktaeb Hizballah, and resident of Sadr City): There are a lot of places in Baghdad used for this purpose. There are almost 50 locations in Sadr City in Baghdad used for storage of weapons and other materiel. The section 52 Zahara mosque (in Sadr City) is controlled by Saraya Al-Salam (the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr). Habibia (Husainia house) is controlled by Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Baladyiat 2, is controlled by Ktaeb Hizballah. In Section 34, there is another mosque controlled by Saraya al-Salam.

The most dangerous site to my knowledge is an area used for storage and manufacture of weapons at the mosque in section 52. It belongs to Saraya al-Salam.

I found out this information when they arrested me in the Baghdad demonstrations. I was interrogated by members of the Saraya Salam brigade. They investigated me in the same place and there were other demonstrators there when I arrived there. The place they took me in was section 52 in Sadr city. There I was taken to a Husainia house (A house receiving people coming on pilgrimage to a holy shrine). I saw a huge storage of weapon there - light and heavy weapons, rockets, and armored cars.

It was too risky to take any picture from the area but I will try to get you a picture and footage. The location has a basement underground, it’s a huge basement. It's the same size as the mosque itself - around 300-400 meters All weapons that are stored in this area are for immediate use, according my friend who worked in the area but he is not with them anymore.

There was a demand by the people to close all these storage areas but through the mechanisms of ‘Sulha al-Asheiri’ (tribal conciliation) this matter has been closed for now.

I never heard that someone has been threatened by them related to the closing of their storage areas. Most of the people in these areas which contain weapons, manufactories and training center are followers of that militia that controls the area.

Some people did demand that the storage should be removed from their area after the explosion in Beirut. They started their hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.

The biggest storage area that I know belongs to Ktaeb Hezbollah, - it's Husainia Al-Thaqlain in Al-Baladiyat, it's the biggest. The last one is Husainait Al-Aqeel. These locations are all on constant stand by for any attack that may come – then each organization would go to the storage area and would reinforce itself with weaponry and then go to the field.

Jerf Al-Sakhr is totally controlled by Ktaeb Hizballah and it's considered to be a military area which is supervised by Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It's the most dangerous place – it would be worse than the Lebanon explosion if it exploded by accident.

I don't have details of who is the Iranian leader who is supervising Ktaeb Hizballah, but I remember one at time there the Iraqi element called for an operation in Anbar. But later they were deployed in Syria. And some of them who objected to this were killed by the Revolutionary Guard. One of these people was my uncle. The leader that was against the decision was called (Mahamad Hillah). he was also killed.

Storage of weaponry inside Sadr City:

Saraya al-Salam brigade

1. Sabaa 'Dujail Mosque", sector 43, Saraya al-Salam.

2. Musa Al-Kazim Mosque, section 34 Saraya al-Salam.

3. Section 33 mosque, section 12 mosque, section 10 mosque, + school, had previously exploded. section 75 mosque, section 76 mosque, section 79 mosque, section 77 mosque, section 38 mosque, section 41 mosque, section 52 collector, section 51 mosque, section 71 and 72

All these points belong to Saraya al-Salam and contain weapons and have had explosions.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq

1. Al-Ahed Channel

2. Al-Aqeelah Mosque

3. Zainab Al-Kataeb

4. Al-Thaqalin Mosque

5. Asas Martyrs Foundation

All contain weapons

Sadr City mosques are divided into two parts: a section affiliated with the Shiite endowment and a section for Saraya. The main central commander is in Al-Thaqlain mosque. All their operations go from there and they are against the state and civilians.

Yesterday, my friend stopped me when you were calling me at 9 - two minutes before I answered you there was an explosion of a sound grenade (acoustic grenade). A sound bomb exploded while I was driving. It's the same place where there was an explosion two months ago, a bomb targeting young people drinking alcoholic beverages This operation was carried out by Saraya.

Badr have one headquarter here and its closed 24-hours a day now. But at the time of the demonstrations and escalation, they came up on the rooftops.

Their terrors here are against the Sunni sectarianism and their usurpation of land and livestock is like this through friends who participated in the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Hashd Al-Shaabi.

Hizbollah usurped Jurf al-Sakhr, al-Qaim, Akashat, and al-Bukamal, Syria, and they have elements working for them in Syria now.

The stores of the camp Falcon is belong to crowd (PMF) Hashd Al-Shaabi.

The area I am living contains a lot of people belonging to Ktaeb Hizballah, they are working as mercenaries, my cousin’s one of them. They hold presidential badge and their cars are without plate number.

National Security is a system that is not affiliated with the Ministry and is led by Faleh Al-Fayyad. They also participated in the October crackdown, wearing civilian clothes.

Osama, 30

In Obaidi area, there is a storage site belonging to Asaib Ahl al-Haq. It is in an industrial and manufacturing area. It's closed and no one is there. After the explosion that took place in Beirut people started asking for removing all storage outside of the city and they don’t want them here anymore. But people are still afraid of demanding that again. In Al-Obaidi, no one likes Asaib even though they are operating in the area. Most of the people here don't know that all these manufactories are actually sites for storage of weapons and making bombs and rockets.

We expect that if this manufactory exploded it would be worse than Lebanon. This manufactory is very close to us, and we are very worried about it. We hold the government responsible if anything happens.

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