Plumes of smoke rise after an explosion at an Iran-backed PMF military base southwest of Baghdad, Iraq, August 12, 2019. (AP)

September 11, 2019

A member of the Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee said that 12 raids have targeted Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) sites and warehouses in the past two months.

Abdul Khaliq al-Azzawi said that government committees tasked with investigating the causes of explosions at PMF bases have completed their probe.

They concluded that there have been 12 drone strikes, some of which were carried out by Israeli aircraft, Azzawi said.

“The US authority responsible for protecting and controlling Iraqi airspace had informed the Iraqi side that the strikes came from Israeli drones,” he affirmed.

Azzawi also called on the prime minister “to inform the parliament and people on the Iraqi-US agreement, including clauses on the protection of Iraq’s airspace.”

Azzawi’s revelations come as the government has not yet announced the results of the investigations into the series of explosions at PMF warehouses.

Meanwhile, the Anbar Provincial Council denied that an aerial strike was behind the explosion of a PMF ammunition warehouse in the province.

“Reports of an aerial bombardment on PMF sites in Heet district are false,” said Council member Karim Hilal.

There is evidence of an electrical short circuit at a small PMF arms depot in the district’s Mamoura area, he added.

A PMF investigation committee arrived at the scene to assess material damage, Hilal noted, saying there were “light and medium weapons in the warehouse, and the explosion didn’t cause human losses.”

An expert on armed groups, Dr. Hisham al-Hashimi, told Asharq al-Awsat that leftover ordnance hidden in the international road area between Heet and Kabisa, west of Anbar, have exploded.

“There is no checkpoint for the Iraqi military or PMF affiliates there,” he stressed, noting that there are also no indications of aerial attacks.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.