Iraqi Forces Regain Control of Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib after Attack Iraqi forces regain control of Abu Ghraib after launched an assault on police and army positions in the area over the weekend.
Backed by Iraqi forces, paramilitary troops known as Hashid Shaabi, or the General Mobilization, repelled an attack on Monday (February 29) by militants of the in Abu Ghraib district on the outskirts of the capital Baghdad, describing the situation in the area as “fully under control.”
At dawn on Sunday (February 28), suicide and gunmen attacked Iraqi security forces in Abu Ghraib, seizing positions in a grain silo and a cemetery, killing at least 17 members of the security forces, officials said.
Adnan al-Shahmani, leader of Kataib al-Risalyoun, a Shia militia who are fighting in the area criticized the media reports saying they were exaggerated, indicating that fighting has been raging in the area for the past two years.
“We have been fighting here for two years now. Fighting with the terrorist groups here has never stopped. Therefore, I was not surprised by the attack. But what has really surprised me are the media reports and news that indicated that the (militants) had arrived at Abu Ghraib or they had edged close to Abu Ghraib. This is untrue,” said Shahmani.
“This is the scene of the events. The scene of the battle and the other location was the grain silo and defensive lines of our troops. These were the operation theatre. The battle started at dawn and fire was opened at our troops. We regard these area as back lines and thus we did not view them as very significant. They (militants) tried to breach our lines and reach to other side of the road to Baghdad, but your brothers remained steadfast and managed to repel them. A number of the attacked force was killed and some of them wounded while others managed to flee,” Shahmani added.
Security officials blamed , and a news agency that supports the group said it had launched a “wide attack” in Abu Ghraib, 25 km (15 miles) from the center of Baghdad and next to the international airport.
Footage circulated online by the Amaq news agency appeared to show fighters crouching behind dirt berms (earthworks) and launching the attack with automatic rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Reuters could not verify the video’s authenticity.
Security forces had mostly regained control by Sunday evening but officials said there were still clashes.
Army and police sources said the militants had attacked from the nearby SIS-controlled areas of Garma and Falluja, driving Humvees and pickup trucks fixed with machine guns.
A curfew was imposed as a regiment of Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism forces was mobilized to retake the silo in Abu Ghraib and prevent the militants approaching the nearby airport, security officials said.
Iraqi army helicopters bombarded positions in the and Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said at least 20 militants had been killed in the government’s counter offensive.
Fighters from the Hashid Shaabi, a coalition of Shia militias, were mobilized to Abu Ghraib to reinforce regular government forces in the area, said Jawad al-Tulaibawi, a local Hashid commander.
Powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also called on fighters loyal to him to be on alert to protect Baghdad. Shia militias like Sadr’s ‘Peace Brigades’ were seen as a bulwark against sweeping advance in 2014 which threatened Iraq’s capital and its most sacred Shia shrines, AP reported.