1 killed, 29 injured after explosions reported at Iraqi Shia milita base

Shortly after the explosions at the base, shells fell in the Green Zone of Baghdad where the American Embassy in Iraq is located.

August 14, 2019 15:30
2 minute read.
Popular Mobilization Forces with Iranian advisors during Hawija offensive in 2017

Popular Mobilization Forces with Iranian advisors during Hawija offensive in 2017. (photo credit: DLSHAD ANWAR (VOA)/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

One person was killed and 29 others were injured after explosions were reported at a base of Iranian-backed Shia militias south of Baghdad, Iraq, according to Sky News Arabia. Shortly after, shells fell in the Green Zone of Baghdad where the American Embassy in Iraq is located, according to Sky News Arabia.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health earlier said 13 people were injured in the explosion, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency.
An Al Mayadeen correspondent reported that the explosions were caused by shells hitting the base held by al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) located in the Abu Dshir area, according to preliminary information.

An Iraqi military source told Al Ain that unidentified aircraft targeted warehouses of equipment and missiles belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces militia at the Al-Saqr military base south of Baghdad. The shelling completely destroyed the stores. Dozens of injuries were reported from the Quds Force and members of the Hezbollah militia at the base.


Video from the site showed clouds of smoke billowing from one of the weapons stores belonging to the PMU.

Reuters reported that the explosions were caused by a large fire at the weapons depot and injured 14 people when rockets stored in the depot went off and hit neighborhoods in the area.

A police source said the fire was probably caused by negligence leading to poor storage conditions and high temperatures, according to Reuters.

Two attacks have hit bases held by Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq since the beginning of July.

The first attack happened on July 19 at a base in Amerli in the Saladin province north of Baghdad. Iraqi and Iranian sources blamed Israel at the time, and Asharq Al-Awsat reported that “diplomatic sources” confirmed the attack, specifying that it was carried out by an Israeli F-35.
Al Arabiya television news reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were transported to the base shortly before the attack via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. The identity of the aircraft which conducted the attack was unspecified at the time, and the US denied any involvement. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah members were killed in the airstrike, according to Al Arabiya. However, the Iranian-backed al-Hashd ash-Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Forces) denied that any Iranians were killed, according to Fars News Agency.

A source from the IRGC told the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida newspaper that preliminary investigations indicate that Israel was behind the attack. An Israeli drone launched from a US base in Syria attacked the base, which stored short- and medium-range missiles.

The IRGC reached this conclusion because the type of missile that hit the camp is the same used by the IAF in attacks on Syria.

Asharq Al-Awsat also reported that a second attack by Israel on Sunday on a base in Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, had targeted Iranian advisers who were present at the base and a shipment of ballistic missiles that had just arrived from Iran.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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