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No consensus yet among Iraqi armed groups on joining Israel-Hamas war

Interviews with faction leaders reveal anger with Hamas over starting a unilateral conflict, but also a determination to get involved if Hezbollah greenlights such a move and Israel invades Gaza.
NINEVEH, IRAQ - JUNE 20: Iraqi PMF fighters June 20, 2017 on the Iraq-Syria border in Nineveh, Iraq. The Popular Mobilisation Front (PMF) forces, composed of majority Shi'ite militia, part of the Iraqi forces, have pushed Islamic State militants from the north-western Iraq border strip back into Syria. The PMF now hold the border, crucial to the fall of Islamic State in Mosul, blocking the Islamic State supply route for militants from Syria to Mosul. (Martyn Aim/Getty Images).
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BAGHDAD — Iranian-backed Iraqi armed factions are unlikely to participate directly in the Israel-Hamas war as long as it is solely led by the Palestinian militant group, amid a split in the decision to target US military bases in Iraq and Syria among these same factions, commanders of Iranian-backed armed groups told Al-Monitor.

Iraq's Kataib Hezbollah on Wednesday announced the formation of what Hamas calls the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation Support Room to “supervise” Iraqi armed factions' support of Hamas. The short statement released on a media network linked to Kataib Hezbollah did not deliver further details, but one of its commanders told Al-Monitor that only three Iraqi armed factions joined the operations room, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the second-most powerful Iraqi armed faction, and the Badr Organization, the oldest Iranian-backed Iraqi armed faction.

“Implementing direct or indirect military operations is still a matter of disagreement between the leaders of the three factions until this moment,” the commander said.

However, military bases hosting US forces in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria have faced almost daily attacks with drones and rockets since then. Jaafar al-Husseini, spokesperson for Kataib Hezbollah, said in a televised interview that "the resistance in Iraq achieved its first attacks … and will continue at a higher pace."

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