Today, Tuesday, an armed militia calling itself “Ashab al-Kahf” claimed responsibility for the killing of American citizen Stephen Trol in the center of Baghdad last night.
The armed faction stated in a press release that the killing of Stephen Troll came “in retaliation for the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the (Quds Force), and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of (the Popular Mobilization Authority).”
The American killed in Iraq
Al-Arabiya/Al-Hadath correspondent reported that unknown persons had shot dead an American citizen named Stephen Edward Troll in the Karrada area – Al-Sina’a Street – near the Rafidain Bank.
He also indicated that the assassination took place while the citizen was driving his personal white Prado vehicle, explaining that the perpetrators were using two cars, the first is a black Tahoe, and the second is a black Mercedes.
who are the cave men”?
The armed group “Ashab al-Kahf” has always been considered a mysterious faction since it first appeared in 2019, and although it represents a front for one of the influential Shiite factions, most analyzes indicate that it is a “soldier” who implements an agenda that constitutes all armed parties raising the slogan of “resistance” in the country. .
The “Friends of the Cave” have claimed violent attacks with explosive devices on convoys since March 2020, and at least one missile attack on the US Embassy, on November 17, 2020.
The factions have generally intensified their attacks since the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, but the majority of the attacks focus on the logistical support convoys of the US forces, even while transporting their equipment for the purposes of withdrawing from Iraq.
About two years ago, a political explanation emerged for the activity of this group, as it helped factions such as “Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq” and “Kataeb Hezbollah” to carry out proxy attacks, and the use of these events as political pressure cards on the Americans and local opponents in Iraq, and this close interdependence was exposed. On January 25, 2020, when the “Friends of the Cave” joined an organized campaign to release one of the “Asaib” members, and confirmed its willingness to take to the street if the Qais Al-Khazali group ordered to do so.
And the “Washington Institute for Studies” claimed that evidence showed that “Ashab al-Kahf” was affiliated with “Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq,” based on “analysis of publications and accounts that promote the activity of (Ashab al-Kahf), while it appears that the Asa’ib platforms have a particularly close relationship with (Ashab al-Kahf). The Cave), and the attacks adopted by (the Companions of the Cave) are carried out near the areas of control of the faction led by Qais Khazali.
Although the Popular Mobilization Authority declared its innocence of the attacks targeting foreign diplomatic missions and the international coalition forces, various sources confirm that this innocence is motivated by sharp differences between the armed factions; The most prominent of them is a sharp intersection with the “Hezbollah Brigades”.
It seems that the attacks carried out by the “Friends of the Cave” declined somewhat after September 2020, due to what the group itself said through accounts on “Twitter” and “Telegram” that it had “been betrayed, and feel deeply let down by the position of the rest of the factions (Innocence). ) Of which”.