Militia leader denies US played role in retaking Tikrit
Qais al-Khazali, who heads the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), called the coalition’s involvement a “political subject not military,” in a press conference on Friday.
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, also known as the Khazali Network, is an Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary group that was once part of Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
The military operation to retake Tikrit was halted in mid-March and resumed following the commencement of U.S.-led airstrikes on IS positions in the city, which were requested by Baghdad.
A number of Shia militias withdrew from the offensive in protest of the airstrikes and reports have surfaced that coalition airstrikes killed Iraqi security forces as well as two Iranian advisers in the area — claims U.S. officials have denied.