Peshmerga Prevented US Delegation Get Abducted by Shi'ite Militias: Official


ERBIL— Thanks to Kurdistan Peshmerga forces, a delegation of representatives from the US and Canadian churches survived an abduction attempt by the Shi'ite Hashd al-Shaabi forces on Monday, said an Kurdish official.

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)'s official page, on Wednesday cited Mariwan Naqshbandi, the spokesperson for Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, as saying the delegation was attacked at a Hashd al-Shaabi checkpoint.

The delegation, accompanied by a the director of Christians' Affairs at the ministry,  had set off from Kurdistan to Nineveh Plain to monitor the return of the Christian IDPs to their homes and observe the reconstruction process of the damaged churches in the area, according to the official.

Over 100 churches and revered sites of Christians in Nineveh Plain have been razed mainly by the Islamic State (IS) and during the war to oust the extremists from the area.  

The delegation was "insulted" at a Hashd al-Shaabi checkpoint between Bartalla and Hamdaniyah (townships in Nineveh Plain) and the Shi''ite militias intended to abduct the delegation but the Peshmerga forces who guarded the delegation rescued them, Naqshbandi added.

The official noted the delegation has officially sent an official complaint against the Shi'ite militias to the Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office.  

The Shi'ite paramilitaries of Hashd al-Shaabi are accused of abducting individuals, torturing and killing the Sunni residents of liberated areas from the IS and committing sorts of war crimes against civilians.