Iraq Iraqi Militia Threatens Escalation Against The U.S.

Iraq Iraqi Militia Threatens Escalation Against The U.S.


Iraqi Militia Threatens Escalation Against The U.S. 

An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-backed militia in Iraq, Faylaq Al-Waad Al-Sadiq, issued a statement it was ready to scale up attacks against the U.S. military if a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is not implemented per its demands. The terror group’s Secretary-General Sheikh Mohammed Al-Tamimi said, “If [such] agreement is not achieved, we will expel the Americans in their coffins from Iraq, and we will humiliate the 'Black House' administration." He was referring to the White House, which is engaged in bilateral negotiations with the Iraqi government, which is aligned with the militias.  

‘Islamic Resistance in Iraq’ Claims Confirmed Attack Against Israel 

An umbrella group of Iran-backed militias that formed after Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack against Israel, known as the ‘Islamic Resistance in Iraq,’ claimed credit for an attack against Israel. Unlike prior claims, however, this one was confirmed by the Israeli military, which said that a “suspicious aerial target” lightly damaged a naval base hangar at Eilat.    

Israel and the Palestinian Territories 

Hamas Rejects Latest Hostage Deal Proposal 

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the terror group was holding to its demands in the hostage negotiations. In a televised speech he said, “We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza…” A permanent ceasefire, however, remains a non-starter for Israel, which has vowed to completely dismantle Hamas, including the four operational battalions in Rafah, on the border with Egypt. Another obstacle is Hamas’ demand that displaced Palestinians be permitted to return to northern Gaza, which could allow the terror group to move weapons and fighters among civilians to reconstitute in the north. On March 4, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, reiterated these demands, while blaming Israel for impeding progress.  

Israel Concludes Two-Week Long Operation At Al-Shifa 

A two-week long operation at the Al-Shifa compound in Gaza City concluded on April 1. The IDF reported that “Troops have completed precise operational activity in the area of the Shifa Hospital and exited the area of the hospital.” During the raid, hundreds of Hamas operatives were either detained or killed, including senior members of the organization. The large scale of this operation further shows how the terror group aims to infiltrate previously-cleared areas.  

On Quds Day, Iranian Leaders Ramp Up Anti-Israel Rhetoric 

The Iranian state-run English-language media outlet Press TV reported on Supreme Leader Khamenei’s meeting with senior government officials in Tehran. He said, “The cowardly efforts by the Zionist regime like the one they carried out in Syria will not save them from defeat. They will of course receive a slap in the face for this move.” He was referring to the Israeli strike against senior IRGC commanders in Syria. In addition to indicating that the regime will respond, Khamenei’s address is also notable in that it focused on the war in Gaza, which is consistent with the regime’s preference to wage proxy war rather than engage in direct escalation through strikes of its own. Last week, Khamenei hosted Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas’ political bureau, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhalah, in Tehran.  

Also, on Quds Day large crowds gathered on the streets of Tehran to demonstrate in support of the Iranian regime and against Israel, and to participate in the funeral procession for the IRGC commanders that were killed in the Israeli strike in Syria. The protesters chanted “death to Israel” and “death to America” as they headed towards Tehran University, where top IRGC commander Hossein Salami gave a speech before Friday prayers, to mark the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. He said, “Our brave men will punish the Zionist regime,” adding that “no enemy act against our holy system will go unanswered.”  

Senior IRGC officials, including Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani, IRGC commander-in-chief Hossein Salami, Aerospace Force commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Tehran Province commander Hassan Hassanzadeh, as well as other regime officials including President Ebrahim Raisi, and members of Khamenei’s family, were spotted at the pro-Palestinian rallies. Additionally, PIJ Secretary-General Nakhalah and the chief of staff of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were in Iran participating in the parade.  

Large Iranian Weapons Shipment To West Bank Intercepted 

The IDF and the Shin Bet, conducting an investigation into Munir Makdah, a senior Fatah official and a resident of the Palestinian refugee camp Ein El-Hilweh in Lebanon, known to work closely with Hezbollah and the IRGC, discovered a weapon smuggling operation and confiscated the shipment, which included advanced mines and explosives, grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles, and small arms. The smuggling operation was coordinated by special operations units of the IRGC: Unit 4000, the Special Operations Division of the IRGC Intelligence Organization headed by Jawad Ghafari; and Quds Force Unit 18840, which is responsible for operations in Syria and subordinate to the head of Unit 840, Asghar Bakri. Ghafari himself had been identified for his role in targeting Israeli citizens and Jews in Turkey in 2022. Although unmentioned in Iranian media sources, Unit 840 was revealed in November 2020, after the IDF accused it of placing explosives at the Syrian border, and was again spotlighted in April 2022, when a member of the secretive unit admitted to plotting assassinations targeting the Israeli consulate in Turkey, an American general in Germany, and a journalist France.  

Lebanon and Hezbollah 

Cross-Border Strikes Continue On Israel’s Northern Front 

On March 3, the IDF announced that Israeli jets struck Hezbollah targets in Kfarhamam, following cross-border artillery shelling directed at a threat in Ayta Ash Shab. Earlier that day, air raid sirens went off across Israel’s northern border, though no injuries were reported, and Iranian media reported that Hezbollah had launched an attack. Press TV quoted a Hezbollah statement in which the terror group claimed to be retaliating for Israeli strikes and “in support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.” The threat from Hezbollah, not only its missiles but the potential for an assault like October 7, have led 60,000 Israelis to evacuate from their homes in northern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the eventual return of these residents, saying, "I prefer to do this diplomatically, if possible. But if not, then we will do it by other means.”  

On the Lebanon side of the border, 90,000 people have been displaced, many of them blaming Hezbollah for the conflict. They fear that Hezbollah is going to provoke a full-blown war that would be devastating to Lebanon, already a dysfunctional political and economic system that is dominated by Hezbollah. Last week, a Rmeish resident even intervened to prevent rockets from being launched into Israel. On March 30, near the town of Rmeish, a roadside bomb installed by Hezbollah exploded, wounding three United Nations observers and a Lebanese translator.  


Israel Eliminates Multiple Senior IRGC Commanders 

Four Israeli officials, speaking anonymously to the New York Times, confirmed Israel was responsible for the precision airstrike in Damascus on April 1 that killed multiple senior commanders in the IRGC, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who oversaw Quds Force operations in the Levant as head of Department 2000, and his deputy Mohammad Hadi Haj Rahimi. A Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S., Zahedi coordinated arms shipments to Hezbollah and other pro-Iran terror groups in Syria.  

A hardline pro-regime political group in Iran recently added that the slain general was involved in October 7, praising his “strategic role in forming and strengthening the resistance front as well as in planning and executing the Al-Aqsa Storm.” Zahedi was the highest-ranking IRGC official to have been killed since the U.S. drone strike against former Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. In December 2023, Israel eliminated Sayyed Razi Mousavi, the commander of Quds Force Unit 2250 who managed logistics in Syria and reported to Department 2000. Moreover, it has conducted numerous strikes against Hezbollah and IRGC entrenchment in Syria.