Clashes erupted Wednesday evening between armed tribesmen and army-affiliated Hashd al-Shaabi fighters in Iraq’s northern Saladin province, according to security sources.
“Fierce clashes erupted between members of the Al-Khazraj tribe and the Asaib Ahl al-Haq -- a militant faction of the Hashd al-Shaabi -- in the Al-Dujail district [located some 120 kilometers south of provincial capital Tikrit],” Police Lieutenant Numaan al-Jubouri said.
No casualties have been reported as a result of the clashes, which remain ongoing, he said.
According to al-Jubouri, fighting broke out after two Al-Khazraj leaders were abducted by militants who had set up a fake security checkpoint outside the Al-Dujail district.
The Al-Khazraj tribe, which has both Sunni and Shia members, accuses the Asaib Ahl al-Haq of kidnapping the two tribesmen.
It remains unclear, however, whether the faction was, in fact, responsible for the abductions.
Led by Qais al-Khazali (known for having close links to Iran), the Asaib Ahl al-Haq is one of the Hashd al-Shaabi’s more militant factions.
The Hashd al-Shaabi, a predominantly Shia fighting force drawn up in 2014 to fight the Daesh terrorist group, was incorporated into the Iraqi Armed Forces last year.
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