Iranian Khamenei's Photos Hang Inside Kirkuk Governorate Building
After the city of Kirkuk fell to the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi earlier this week, photos of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader, now hang on the wall of the Kirkuk governorate’s building as clearly seen in video footage filmed by a Hashd militant.
The Shiite militia in the video confirms that Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militants are present inside the city, even after the US Army Col. Ryan Dillon told Pentagon reporters on Tuesday he had not seen credible reports showing the Shiite forces entering Kirkuk.
Dillon had denied seeing credible reports of the primarily Shiite PMF or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) involved in the Kirkuk operations.
“From our official reporting from our elements that participating and have re-established security in and around the Kirkuk area, those are Iraqi security force elements like the Counter-Terrorism Service, the Federal Police, and we do not have reports of PMF units or the types of units you had mentioned that we have received,” Dillon said in response to a question from Rudaw’s Pentagon correspondent Rebaz Ali.
“Credible reports,” to which the Coalition gives credence to include "Iraqi security forces, our forces, and Kurdish security officials, and other platforms,” Dillon explained.
In the video footage, the Hashd al-Shaabi militant offends and derides the Kurdish forces and nation calling to drag them into a fight over the city.
“Now we have taken over your shelters and sat down in them,” the Shiite militant said. “We reclaimed Kirkuk. Are you not ashamed? Where are the men? Did you not say “we are men coming from Erbil and Sulaimani to preserve Kirkuk and Kirkuk is ours”? Where are you?”
Referring to Khamenei's photos hanging on the wall behind him while speaking at the Kirkuk governorate’s building, he said “we hung our pictures. What more are you waiting for? I am now in Kirkuk. We are now inside the governorate’s building.”
“Hashd al-Shaabi, Asaib alh-Haq and the Golden Force controlled the province.” he said.
An experienced Rudaw war correspondent, Hevidar Ahmed, reported from Kirkuk that some 10 Peshmerga were beheaded during confrontations between the Kurdish fighters and Hashd al-Shaabi late Sunday night.
Ahmed also said there were looting and burning of Kurdish homes in Tuz Khurmatu by the Hashd al-Shaabi. He reported that 150 Kurdish houses were looted and 15 burned.