Hezbollah Brigades threatens to train 12,000 Jordanians to battle Israel

Abu Al-Askari, a senior security official of the powerful Iraq-based Iranian proxy militia, Kata’ib Hezbollah, threatened to arm more than 12,000 Jordanians to attack Israel after the latter killed seven officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, earlier today. Al Askari’s threat is issued as relations between Israel and Jordan continue to sour as Israel battles Hamas in Gaza.

Al-Askari began by extending “condolences” to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the death of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Brigadier General Muhammed Reza Zahedi and six other IRGC officers who were killed in the April 1 strike in Damascus. Zahedi was involved in leading attacks against Israel as well as commanding IRGC operations in the region, according to reports.

“The great Mohammad Reza Zahedi was killed following the criminal Zionist-American attack on the Consulate of the Islamic Republic in Damascus,” Al-Askari said.

After noting the “martyrdom of the brother Commander” Zahedi, Al-Askari said that the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, the umbrella front organization for Iranian proxy militias such as Hezbollah Brigades, was ready to arm 12,000 members of what he calls the “Islamic Resistance in Jordan.”

“The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has prepared its equipment to equip our brothers, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan, to satisfy the needs of 12,000 fighters with light and medium weapons, anti-armor launchers, tactical missiles, millions of (rounds) ammunition, and tons of explosives, so that we may be one hand in the defense of our Palestinian brothers. And revenge for the honor of Muslims that the sons of monkeys and pigs have violated,” said Askari.

Askari added that when Hezbollah Brigades is given approval from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the group will begin by “cutting off the land route that reaches the Zionist entity,” which likely refers to the land border between Jordan and Israel.

Hezbollah Brigades, or Kataib Hezbollah, is one of the most dangerous Iranian-backed proxy militias in Iraq. The IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah formed it after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 from key elements of the Mahdi Army. They were directly involved in killing over 600 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, as well as thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. It rose further in prominence as it helped defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after the Iraqi military collapsed in 2014. The U.S. lists Hezbollah Brigades as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and its founder, Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, was killed along with former IRGC Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani in a U.S airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 3, 2020.

While Jordan and its allies should take threats by Al Askari seriously, the Hezbollah Brigades commander may not have any intention of arming Jordanians, and is only attempting to foment further unrest and instability in Jordan. For nine consecutive days, protestors supporting Hamas have taken to the streets near the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital, denouncing the Gaza war and the Hashemite Kingdom’s peace treaty with Israel.

An unnamed Jordanian official denounced the protests, saying, “Hamas is inciting and trying to ignite unrest inside the kingdom. We will not allow it to achieve its goal.”

Editor’s Note: The original publication of this article mistakenly referred to Abu al-Askari as the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah. He is in fact a senior security official.

Joe Truzman is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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