The nascent Zulfiqar Forces, part of the Iranian-backed ‘Islamic Resistance in Iraq,’ recently published a video claiming responsibility for an Aug. 27 rocket attack against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
The U.S. military tweeted that the rockets did not hit the Embassy, nor did reach any targets inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.
In a short statement published alongside a video by the group on Sept. 6 on its Telegram channel, Zulfiqar Forces said the operation – dubbed “Revenge of the Martyrs” – was in response to the killing of Islamic Resistance leaders by American forces.
“We broadcast for you the filming of the ‘Revenge of the Martyrs’ carried out by the Mujahideen of the Zulfiqar Forces in revenge for the blood of the martyred leaders, against the American occupation forces, which targeted the base of evil in the American embassy,” the statement said.
The video showed masked men inspecting and preparing several Katyusha rockets for launch. After several moments, the masked men appeared to launch them before the video abruptly ended.
Although at least one rocket was fired towards the U.S. embassy that day, the then-Inherent Resolve Spokesperson Col. Myles B. Caggins III said there was no damage done.
“The military Coalition confirms small rockets impacted near Baghdad’s International Zone, Aug. 27 at 11:58 p.m. No Coalition casualties or damage to facilities,” Caggins’ statement read.
The video was also a markedly higher quality production than videos from other newly founded groups within the ‘Islamic Resistance in Iraq’ branding.
However, it is unclear if this noticeable improvement reflects a more skilled media department – or if technical expertise was provided to the group by Iran and its network inside Iraq.
Zulfiqar Forces first emerged in June 2020 when it claimed to hack a security system used by American troops at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad. Prior to this recent statement, it had not previously claimed a physical attack against American personnel.
Despite the appearance of being a new formation, the Zulfiqar Forces are likely another name for the more than half-dozen front groups of other, more established Iranian proxies in Iraq.
Moreover, the group’s logo – a variation of the image of a hand clutching an assault rifle – resembles that of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its various proxies across the Middle East, which clearly signifies its position within Iran’s ‘axis of resistance.’