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Iraq Popular Forces Blame Israel for Deadly Drone Attack near Syria Border

Monday 26 August 2019
Iraq Popular Forces Blame Israel for Deadly Drone Attack near Syria Border

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Iraqi VP Warns Israeli Regime of ’Strong Response’ over Attacks on Popular Forces

Explosions Hit Iraqi Popular Forces’ Position North of Baghdad

Alwaght- Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Shaabi, blamed Israeli regime for a recent deadly drone attack that killed two popular fighters near the Syrian border.

Two unmanned aircraft carried out air raids on an area about 15 km away from Iraq's border with Syria on Sunday.

"As part of the string of Zionist attacks on Iraq, the evil Israeli crows have returned to target the Hashd al-Shaabi, this time with two drones inside Iraqi territory," the group said in a statement.

The statement added that the attack left one fighter dead and another seriously wounded. Initial reports said two fighters were killed in the attack, which was carried out under American air cover.

"This blatant attack came with air cover over the area from American planes, in addition to a large balloon to monitor the area near the site of the incident," it said.

Reports said that one of the Sunday’s airstrikes hit the headquarters of a PMF unit, while the other struck a convoy of cars leaving the building.

The air raids are the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted positions of the Popular Mobilization Forces across Iraq over the past months.

The attacks began on July 19 when a drone dropped explosives onto a PMU base near the town of Amerli, in Salahuddin Province, killing at least one resistance fighter and injuring four others.

The fourth attack came last week, when a PMU ammunition depot exploded near the capital Baghdad. Popular Mobilization Forces commanders soon pointed the finger at Israel and blasted American for allowing the attacks despite having full control over the Iraqi airspace.

The Pentagon has denied involvement, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday at possible Israeli strikes in Iraq.

"We are operating – not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state (Iran) that wants to annihilate us. Of course I gave the security forces a free hand and instructed them to do anything necessary to thwart Iran's plans," he said when asked whether Tel Aviv was considering operations in Iraq.

Unnamed American officials confirmed on Friday that Israel was indeed behind the attacks.

Kata'ib Hezbollah, another prominent Iraqi resistance group, said the recent airstrikes on the positions of PMU are an attempt by the US and Israel to revive the ISIS Takfiri terrorist group in the Arab country.

In an interview with Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Ahed news website published on Friday, Kata'ib Hezbollah spokesman Mohammed Muhyee said the air raids on PMF positions are actually meant to weaken Iraqi resistance factions, empty their weapons stores and end their role in maintaining security in Iraq.

'Final warning'

Last week, Popular Mobilization Forces 45th brigade issued a "final warning" to the US over the attacks.

"We issue a final warning to the American enemy that any new targeting of any Iraqi positions will be met with a tough, categorical response," it said in a statement.

Forces from the PMU shot down a spy drone in Iraq’s northern Province of Nineveh on Sunday.

In January, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted during a visit to Iraq that the Israeli regime could launch attacks against PMF, who played a key role in the Iraqi army’s counter-terrorism battles against the ISIS terror group and helped the government to rid the country of the Takfiri outfit in late 2017.

Pompeo was reported to have made it clear to Iraqi officials at a meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi that Washington would not react to possible Israeli attacks against Popular Mobilization Forces.

Abdul-Mahdi expressed concern about the statement and warned Pompeo that such actions by Israel would have grave consequences, Russia’s RT Arabic television news network reported back then.

 

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Israeli Regime Popular Mobilization Forces Drone Attack

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