Shake-up of Iraq’s senior military after rocket attacks on Al Asad Air Base

Popular Mobilisation Forces in a state of 'high alert' over Israel-Gaza war

Prime Minister Mohammed Al Sudani has announced a number of senior appointments to Iraq's military. Reuters
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Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has made ordered a reshuffle of Iraq's military as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) entered a "state of high alert" on Friday.

Mr Al Sudani’s decision follows a number of attacks on US forces by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias in recent weeks.

“The Prime Minister made changes to a number of commanders in senior military positions and assigned their replacements to complete their careers in military work,” a statement from spokesman Maj Gen Yahya Rasoul said.

Maj Gen Rasoul said "the step comes in line with the requirements of military action and provides an opportunity to maximise our military sector to serve our country", he added.

Lt Gen Karim Aboud Mohammad has been given the position of head of the Counter-Terrorism Service, replacing Lt Gen Abdul Wahab Al Saadi.

Lt Gen Ahmed Salim Bahjat was transferred from his position as Commander of Baghdad Operations to the command of the Ministry of Defence, Maj Gen Rasoul said.

The changes come as the PMF announced it was on high alert following the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip.

The PMF is an umbrella group for a number of Iran-backed militias that operate in Iraq. They were formed to assist Iraqi forces in their battle against ISIS in 2017.

Abdul Aziz Al Mohammadawi, PMF chief of staff, said the move was to "prepare the group to defend Iraq's sovereignty and national borders".

The official said "he condemns the crimes and massacres of the Zionist occupation against unarmed Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the tragic situation there".

It comes as US forces in Iraq and Syria have come under drone and rocket attacks at least 24 times in recent days, including at least three barrages on Monday, when a number of rockets targeted Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq.

Two armed drones targeted the same site on Thursday.

The military base hosts American and other international forces.

Updated: November 04, 2023, 5:52 AM