SHAFAQNA -Â Some 15,000 residents of Southern Iraq have joined the Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi to fight against the ISIL terrorist group in the country, a local security official told media Tuesday.Â
â€œAt least 15,000 volunteers from the Dhiqar province and the capital city of Naseriah have joined the Hashed al-Shaabi gunmen and will take up arms against the ISIL,â€ Naman Ibrahimi, a representative of the provinceâ€™s security committee said, as quoted by the Kurdish media group Rudaw.Â
Hashed al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Units, is an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of several, almost exclusively, Shiite militias with up to 100,000 members.Â
The ISIL group seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. On May 17, the ISIL took control of Ramadi, the capital of ISIL-dominated Western Anbar governorate, some 70 miles West of Baghdad.Â
Hashed al-Shaabi militiamen, along with the Iraqi Army and police, took part in the fight for Ramadi. The militia was also deployed in Baghdad to protect the Iraqi capital from a possible ISIL offensive.