Update: This report turned out to be untrue. Neither Hadi Amiri nor Qais al-Khazali were captured by US forces on Thursday night. Amiri was seen on Friday calling for the expulsion of US forces, and Khazali was (also falsely) reported killed in a Friday US airstrike. Khazali’s whereabouts are unknown but there is no indication he is in custody. Amiri was in parliament on Sunday voting in favor of the expulsion of US troops.
Following the United States attack on the Baghdad International Airport on Thursday evening, a strike which killed seven people, including Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and two top Iraqi members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), it is now being reported that US Marines carried out arrest raids inside Baghdad, capturing high ranking Iraqi MP Hadi al-Amiri and militia leader Qais al-Khazali.
Details are still emerging, but the Marines were reported by several Middle East sources to have conducted raids in the Jadriah district of Baghdad, and came out of it with Amiri and Khazali.
This comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Amiri to be “an Iranian asset,” citing his presence at the protests at the US Embassy in Baghdad. Amiri is the leader of Iraq’s second largest parliamentary bloc, as well as the head of the powerful Badr Brigade. In recent years he had been under consideration as a potential premier.
Khazali is the head of Qa’saib Ahl al-Haq, a substantial militia within the PMU in its own right. Though Khazali has politically been aligned to Amiri in recent years, in the past he was an aide to top cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the main Iraqi parliament bloc.