CAIRO (Sputnik) — Supporters of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Front (PMF), an Iran-backed conglomeration of Shia militias, attacked and set fire to the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Baghdad over comments made by a Kurdish leader, media reported.
Images shared by national broadcaster al-Sumaria TV showed supporters of PMF gathering outside the building as smoke billowed. They held up images of Shia figures, including US-assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
According to the broadcaster, the attack came as a result of statements by prominent Kurdish leader Hoshyar Zubari implicating the PMF for rocket attacks in Baghdad’s green zone.
PMF leader Muhammed al-Basri told al-Shafaq news agency that the Front condemned the attack and absolved it of direct involvement in the incident.
▪️ Baghdad’s office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was vandalized & set on fire today.
▪️ A reporter & a cameraman of Rudaw news network were kidnapped for three hours.
▪️ The PMU: We support peaceful protest & reject violence and destruction. pic.twitter.com/i5F0IeXSfr
— KirkukNow (@Kirkuknow_DT) October 17, 2020
«PMF, as an official institution, has nothing to do with the issue of burning the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Baghdad, and those who did that are supporters of PMF… we condemn the burning of any headquarters, but it’s difficult to control the popular protests», al-Basri was quoted as saying.
The so-called green zone in the Iraqi capital serves as the location for most official buildings, embassies and the local airport. It has come increasingly come under rocket fire which usually only results in material damages.
PMF supporters burn KDP office in Karada, Baghdad. Footage: pro-PMF Telegram channel pic.twitter.com/NfI7FkkFGJ
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) October 17, 2020
Civilian supporters of the PMF militias have resorted to the swarm and burn tactics used against the headquarters. In late 2019 and early 2020, such attacks against the perimeters of the US embassy in Iraq played a role in President Donald Trump ordering the drone assassination of Soleimani.