Iraq militia says it will keep weapons, citing instability

January 17, 2012 21:04

BASRA - A Shi'ite militia that fought US troops in Iraq said on Tuesday it will not lay down its arms immediately despite the departure of American forces.

Abu Mustafa al-Khazali, one of the commanders of Kata'ib Hizballah, cited unstable Iraqi politics and uncertainty about the mission and size of the US embassy in Baghdad as reasons for maintaining its war posture.

The leader of Asaib al-Haq, another Shi'ite militia that opposed US troops in Iraq, said this month the group would lay down its weapons after a "historic Iraqi victory" over American forces.

US military commanders named Asaib al-Haq and Kata'ib Hizballah as major forces on the Iraq battlefield in recent years and said both are funded and armed by neighboring Iran.

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