Iraqi militias accuse US and Israel of attacking bases | News
An Iranian-backed coordination group says US forces have allowed Israeli drones to enter Iraqi territory and carry out missions.
Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups have blamed a series of recent explosions at their weapons depots and bases on the United States and Israel, vowing to defend against any future attack.
Wednesday’s statement came from the Popular Mobilization Forces (FMP), or Hashd al-Shaabi, the coordinating grouping of Iraq’s predominantly Shiite militias.
He said the United States had authorized four Israeli drones to enter the region accompanying American forces and to carry out missions in Iraqi territory.
“We are announcing that the first and last entity responsible for what happened are the US forces, and we will hold them accountable for everything that happens from today,” the statement said, signed by PMF deputy chief Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, also known as Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes.
The US-led coalition in Iraq to fight remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, rejected the statement.
“The mission of the CJTF-OIR in Iraq is only to enable our partners in the Iraqi security forces in the mission of a lasting defeat of Daesh,” he said, using another name for ISIL.
âWe are operating in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government and abide by its laws and guidelines. “
The statements came a day after several explosions hit a position held by a PMF group near the Balad air base, about 80 km north of the capital, Baghdad.
Another explosion last week at a group-run weapons depot sent rockets into southern Baghdad, killing one and injuring 29 others.
A government investigation found that an explosion last week near Baghdad was caused by a drone attack, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Netanyahu threatens Iran
Among increasing tensions Between Washington and Tehran, Iraq finds itself caught between neighboring Iran, whose regional influence has grown in recent years, and the United States.
Asked about growing speculation that Israel would strike targets in Iraq, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday rejected his country’s traditional position of neither denying nor confirming such operations.
“Iran has no immunity, nowhere … We will act – and act now – against them, wherever necessary,” he said during a visit to Ukraine, quoted in the newspaper. Times of Israel.
If Israel carried out the bombing, it would be an extension of its campaign against Iran’s growing influence in the region.
Israel is known to have repeatedly struck Iran-related targets in Syria, as well as Lebanon and Sudan in the past.
But the last time Israel struck inside Iraq was in 1981, when Israeli warplanes bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction south of Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, following last week’s explosion, ordered that all ammunition depots belonging to the armed forces or paramilitary groups be moved out of towns.
It also canceled all special flight clearances for Iraqi and foreign planes, meaning that sorties, including from the US-led coalition against ISIS fighters, must be cleared in advance. by the Prime Minister.
Iraq declared victory over ISIS in 2017, but there are still near-weekly operations against the group.