ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The leader of an influential Shiite militia group from Iraq has claimed to be on Lebanon’s border with the Israel-controlled Golan Heights.
Qais al-Khazali, head of the Iranian Quds Force-funded Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, appeared in an undated video broadcast in Arabic media claiming to show the Iraqi visiting near the Golan Heights, which are on the Israel-Syria-Lebanon border and under Israeli control.
“This is Golan. It is nearly 10 kilometers from here,” someone tells Khazali in a Shami (from Levant) accent of Arabic.
Khazali can be seen in the video wearing a dark cap with military fatigues and a white scarf.
The footage was published by Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq media. The group is a member of the Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitias in Iraq who fought against the ISIS group.
“This is Fatima Bawab on the border of Lebanon and the-occupied Palestine,” Khazali adds. “We are completely prepared for unity with Lebanese nation and the question of Palestine against the invading, oppressive and anti-Islamic Israel.”
The video emerged just days after US President Donald Trump announced, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the “courageous and just decision.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Trump’s move as “a deliberate undermining of all efforts exerted to achieve peace and represent a declaration of the United States’ withdrawal from undertaking the role it has played over the past decades in sponsoring the peace process.”
Protests against the United States and Israel and in support of Palestine raged on Friday across the Islamic world.
Some Iraqi clerics called for Arabs and Muslims not to be passive in the face of Trump’s decision, some going so far as to say they were raising brigades to defend Jerusalem.
Rudaw cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Khazali has previously called on US soldiers to leave after the ISIS presence and called Kurdish leadership traitors to Iraq because of the clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga and Hashd al-Shaabi forces during Baghdad’s takeover of Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu and other areas, claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional and Iraqi governments.