News of a German artist being kidnapped by unknown militants in one of Baghdad's most popular streets has ignited social media, where users expressed both shock and solidarity over the country's deteriorating security situation. Yet, a prominent Iranian-backed militia has accused the Iraqi government of kidnapping the German artist.
German friend of Iraqi youth and ED of Tarkeeb House for arts and creativity in Baghdad, Hella Mewis, has been kidnapped by unidentified armed group around 8:00 PM at Abu Nuas Street.#free_Hella_Mewis pic.twitter.com/DMNAOiNthf— Awatef Rasheed (@Awatef_rasheed) July 20, 2020
German activist and art institute director Hella Mewis was kidnapped in Abu Nawas street on Monday evening. The widely loved artist has been an avid enthusiast about Iraqi art and culture, which is why she's relocated to Iraq seven years ago, where she's been associating with art and cultural centers to organize exhibitions and art galleries across the country.
@SecPompeo the German freelance art Hella Mewis was kidnapped today in Baghdad by armed groups more likely belong to Kata'ib Hezbollah these militias want to repeat the same Iranian regime scenario in Lebanon back in 1985 by kidnapping of Western citizens.https://t.co/XLqHzJI863 pic.twitter.com/Te8pM1YAHI— Ringo ✪ ?? ?? (@ringo1865) July 20, 2020
Using the #freedom_for_hella and #Free_Hella_Mewis hashtags, Iraqis have wished Mewis' safety and wondered whether her kidnappers are associated with certain political or militant groups in the country.
Amid the online momentum, a spokesman of Iranian-backed Kata'ib Hezbollah accused "terrorist groups affiliated with the Iraqi Prime Minister" of kidnapping the German artist, saying that
Kata'ib Hezbollah's Security Spox: "The abduction of Hella Mewis bears the fingerprints of the gangs of the treacherous Kadhimi to foment public opinion against the jealous sons of Iraq that decisively reject such acts that does not go with the authentic Arab ethics... 1/2 pic.twitter.com/DIUoPFwSop— Tamer Badawi تامر بدوي (@TamerBadawi1) July 21, 2020
Responding to the militia's statement, Iraqi social media users mocked Kata'ib Hezbollah saying that "Iraqi militias play innocent at a time everybody knows their crimes." Some social media commentators highlighted the militia's possible involvement in the assignation of political analyst and historian Hisham Al-Hashimi earlier this month in an attempt to link the two incidents.
Translation: "Joke of the day, Abu Ali Al-Askari is accusing Al-Kadhimi of kidnapping the German activist. Yesterday I said they'll only hold her for two days before they release her. It's like a movie!"
ميليشيا حزب الله العراقي يتهم #الكاظمي باختطاف الناشطة الألمانية لتأليب الراي العام ضد الميليشيات!— مجاهد الطائي (@mujahed_altaee) July 21, 2020
وهل الراي العام غير ناقم على الميليشيات؟
ولماذا تخطف الحكومة ناشطة!؟
مشكلة الميليشيات أنهم ليسوا فقط مجرمين، إنما اغبياء أيضا، وعديمي المنطق والحجة
Translation: "The Iraqi Hezbollah militia is accusing Al-Kadhimi of kidnapping the German activist in order for him to mobilize people against militias. Isn't the public already against them? and why would the govt kidnap an activist? The issue with militias is that they're not only criminals, but also illogical stupids who make no sense."
?German activist Hella Mewis who is the Director of Institution of Art in Baghdad was kidnapped on Abu Nawas Street at 8 pm local time.— Hasanain Qays | حسنين قيس (@hasa_qays) July 21, 2020
We Are Sorry @GermanyinIraq @GermanyDiplo
The people who kidnapped her are militias belongs To Iran !!!#Free_Hella_Mewis pic.twitter.com/xS6WjIBgcq
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