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New Iraqi Armed Group Target’s U.S.-led Coalition BASE, Helicopter

A new Iraqi armed group identifying itself as the al-Muhandis’ Revenge Brigade (MRB) announced on May 21 that its fighters had carried out two attacks on U.S. forces.

The group is named after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the former Deputy-Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). Al-Muhandis was killed along with Iran’s Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani in a U.S. strike on the Baghdad International Airport last January.

In its first official statement, the group said its fighters carried out the following attacks:

  • On April 17, MRB fighters targeted a CH-47 Chinook helicopter of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad’s southeastern outskirt with two man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), likely 9k32 strela-2s.

The attack was apparently a failure, as no hit can be seen in the video. Furthermore, no U.S. helicopter were reportedly shot down near the Iraqi capital on April 17.

  • On May 6, MRB fighters shelled the U.S.-led coalition’s Victory Base Complex in the Baghdad International Airport with four Katyusha rockets. Middle Eastern armed groups usually use the term “Katyusha” to refer to a variety of 107 mm rockets.

The attack was successful, with at least three of the rockets landing in the base. However, no casualties were reported.

The MRB concluded its statement by vowing to force U.S. troops to out of “the land of al-Husayn [Iraq], defeated and disappointed.”

Following the assassination of al-Muhandis and Soleimani, several new Shiite armed groups surfaced in Iraq. One of these groups, Usbat al-Tha’ireen (UT), has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed three U.S.-led coalition service members.

Little is known about these new armed group, which are posing a growing threat to U.S. forces currently deployed in Iraq.