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Kataib Hezbollah controls access points to key Iraqi border city

Iran-linked armed groups have over the past year tightened and consolidated their grip on a key border area between Iraq and Syria, preventing journalists from entering and local residents from farming their land.
Members of the Popular Mobilization Units wave the faction flag during a symbolic funeral ceremony in the central holy city of Karbala, on the anniversary of the airstrikes by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near al-Qaim, Iraq, Dec. 29, 2020.

AL-OBEIDI, Iraq — Roughly a dozen young men in black, olive green and camouflage mull around below the arches of the Sheikh Haidar checkpoint between the town of al-Obeidi and the border city of Qaim.

Arches curve over both sides of the checkpoint while a large poster of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior Iraqi security commander from Kataib Hezbollah killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad in January 2020, draws the attention of anyone passing through. 

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