Mob storms Saudi-owned channel in Iraq following show

BAGHDAD (AP) — An angry mob stormed the offices of a Saudi-owned channel in Iraq on Monday following the airing of a television show that suggested Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed in a U.S. strike earlier this year, was involved in orchestrating an attack in Lebanon nearly 40 years ago.

Saudi channel MBC 1 aired a show on Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, which mentioned that his Iraqi wife was killed in the 1981 bombing of the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war.

The show suggested a link in that attack to Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed in the January U.S. drone strike in Baghdad. The attack also killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The airing of the show prompted outcry from dozens of angry Iraqis who stormed the office of the television channel located in the Al-Waziriya district, north of the Iraqi capital.

Al-Muhandis was the deputy leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces, an array of militia groups created to help defeat the Islamic State group. Some militia groups within the PMF have links to Iran.

It is unclear whether the dozens who stormed the office were linked to Iran-backed groups in Iraq. MBC said no one had been hurt but that “severe damages” had been caused to the studio and office property, in a statement.

MBC said it was placing the matter in the hands of the Iraqi authorities.

“MBC Group hopes to receive full details of the circumstances of the attack at the earliest,” the statement said. It added that the network would work with local authorities to find out the “perpetrators" behind the assault.