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Conflicting Reports Emerge over Targeting of PMF Arms Depot in Iraq

Conflicting Reports Emerge over Targeting of PMF Arms Depot in Iraq

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 - 07:45
Conflicting reports emerge over the targeting of a PMF arms depot in Iraq. (AFP)
Baghdad - Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the interior minister and commanders in the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) inspected on Tuesday the PMF’s Saqr training camp weapons depot in southwestern Baghdad after several blasts rocked the site on Monday.

One person was killed in the explosions that caused panic among the people.

The premier had ordered a probe into the incident, urging officials at weapons depots and training camps throughout the country to take “necessary safety precautions to avoid such unfortunate incidents.”

Conflicting reports have emerged over the possibility that the depot may have been targeted by Israeli or American jets, while others speculated that the blasts may have been due to an accident at the site.

Speculation also centered on which party runs the camp. Federal police and PMF equipment were found at the location, said the interior ministry.

Thirteen people were wounded, including two police officers and four PMF members, it added.

Vice President Bahaa al-Aaraji said that the nature of the fire and blast at the camp reveals that it housed “weapons that are not used by Iraqi forces or even the PMF.”

“We can conclude that the weapons were being stored for safe keeping by a neighboring country and were targeted by an unjust colonial state based on a treasonous Iraq tip off,” he tweeted in clear reference to Iran storing arms in Iraq.

A security source told Asharq Al-Awsat: “It is obvious that we are confronted with a real bone-grinding battle between the United States and Israel on the one hand, and Iran and its allies in Iraq on the other.”

“It is also obvious that both sides have chosen Iraq as the ground for their undeclared battle,” he added on condition of anonymity.

“All signs indicate that Israel is completing, with US backing, what it started in Syria by striking Iranian targets,” he explained.

He speculated that Iraq will not announce the results of the investigation into the Saqr blasts in order to avoid “bothering the Iranians”.

Tehran has for years adopted a policy of refraining from disclosing Israeli and American strikes against it in Syria and now in Iraq.

Meanwhile, a member of the PMF, Adel al-Karaawi suspected that the US may have been behind the Saqr blasts.

In televised remarks, he said the US may have used an armed drone to carry out the attack.

He predicted that more strikes will take place in the future “if we do not seize control of Iraqi airspace, especially after Israeli jets have also flown over Iraqi territory.”

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