BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s paramilitary teams on Wednesday blamed a sequence of latest blasts at their weapons depots and bases on america and Israel.
The assertion from the Common Mobilisation Forces (PMF), the umbrella grouping of Iraq’s principally Shi’ite Muslim paramilitary teams, a lot of that are backed by Iran, stated america had allowed 4 Israeli drones to enter the area accompanying U.S. forces and perform missions on Iraqi territory.
“We announce that the primary and final entity liable for what occurred are the American forces, and we are going to maintain them liable for no matter occurs from right now onwards,” stated the assertion, signed by deputy head of the PMF, Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, recognized by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes.
The PMF assertion got here a day after a number of blasts hit a place held by a PMF group subsequent to Balad air base about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.
As tensions between Washington and Tehran improve, Iraq finds itself caught between neighboring Iran, whose regional affect has grown lately, and america.
The U.S.-led coalition, in Iraq to struggle remnants of the Islamic State group, dismissed the assertion.
“The mission of CJTF-OIR in Iraq is solely to allow our Iraqi Safety Power companions within the mission of a permanent defeat of Daesh,” it stated, utilizing an alternate title for Islamic State. “We function in Iraq on the invitation of the Authorities of Iraq and adjust to their legal guidelines and course.”
In Washington, the Pentagon denied involvement.
“The U.S. isn’t concerned within the latest warehouse explosions,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, stated in an announcement.
“The U.S. presence in Iraq helps Iraq’s efforts in opposition to ISIS; we assist Iraq’s sovereignty and we’re complying with Iraqi authorities directives about the usage of their airspace,” Robertson added.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in 2017, however there are nonetheless near-weekly operations in opposition to the group.
A blast final week at a weapons depot run by one group despatched rockets careening throughout southern Baghdad, killing one particular person and wounding 29 others. Police on the time attributed the explosion to poor storage and excessive temperatures, however a authorities investigation is underneath method.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi final week ordered all ammunition dumps belonging to the armed forces or paramilitary teams to be moved outdoors of cities.
He additionally canceled all particular flight permissions for Iraqi and international plane, that means that sorties, together with by the U.S.-led coalition working in opposition to Islamic State militants, should be cleared upfront by the prime minister.
Some analysts have steered the strikes may need been carried out by Israel, which signaled final yr it may assault suspected Iranian navy property in Iraq, because it has executed with scores of air strikes in Syria.
Israeli officers steered not too long ago they seen Iraq, whose most important ally is Israel’s regional foe Iran, as extra of a menace than lately, however haven’t immediately commented on the latest blasts at PMF websites in Iraq.
Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison; Extra reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington; Writing by Raya Jalabi; Modifying by Alison Williams, Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Cooney