Iraq’s PMF Blames US for Recent Weapons Depots Blasts

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 - 17:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) held on Wednesday the United States responsible of a series of blasts in recent weeks in its camps and weapons depots.

Four bases used by the PMF have been hit by mysterious explosions over the past month, but there have been no claims of responsibility or media access to the facilities.

On Wednesday, the PMF said it had carried out its own investigation and pointed the finger at the US military.

"We announce that the first and last entity responsible for what happened are American forces, and we will hold them responsible for whatever happens from today onwards," the group said in a statement.

The statement said the attacks were carried out by "agents or in special operations with modern air planes," but did not provide further details.

It did say its probe found US forces this year had allowed four Israeli drones to enter Iraqi airspace and "target Iraqi military headquarters," without explicitly accusing Israel of carrying out any attacks.

The string of incidents at PMF bases began in mid-July, when an Iraqi fighter was killed and two Iranians were wounded in shelling on a base in Iraq's Amerli region by "an unidentified drone," according to a statement by the Iraqi joint operations command.

The Pentagon denied at the time that it was involved in that incident.

Contacted on Wednesday, the US-led coalition in Iraq declined to comment on the PMF’s accusations, referring AFP to the Iraqi government.

An Iraqi government fact-finding committee set up to investigate a massive munitions depot explosion near Baghdad earlier this month has concluded the blast was the result of a drone strike.

The report, outlining the findings of the committee, said the August 12 explosion at the al-Saqr military base, which killed one civilian and wounded 28, was not caused by faulty storage or an electricity circuit as had been suggested.

The report instead blamed it on a drone strike that caused a huge fire. It did not say who the drone belonged to. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

An estimated 5,200 US troops are in bases across Iraq in training and advisory roles.

Earlier this summer, a string of rocket attacks targeted several bases, sparking concern of a potential confrontation between the US and Iran on Iraqi soil.

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