Iran denies reports of its forces being killed in air strike in Iraq

Al-Arabiya reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were recently transported to the base where the strike was made via trucks used to transport refrigerated food.

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July 21, 2019 18:14
3 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)

Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah members were killed in an air strike on a base in Iraq overnight, according to Saudi Arabia's Al-Arabiya. An Iranian-backed militia denied that any Iranian forces or military advisers were killed in the attack, Fars News Agency reported.

Al-Arabiya reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were recently transported to the base via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. Iraqi security forces confirmed that such missiles were located at the base.

A security source said that two explosions hit the base, one targeting an ammunition depot belonging to an Iranian-backed group. Facilities for the development of ballistic missiles were also targeted in the attack, carried out by an unmanned aircraft.

A drone dropped a bomb onto the Al-Shuhada base in the northern Saladin province north of Baghdad, wounding at least two al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Forces - PMF) fighters, said the Iraqi military in a statement, according to the Iranian IRNA News.

Initial reports blamed the US, but the Pentagon has denied any involvement. The report said that an attack was carried out by an aircraft against the Iranian-backed PMF according to Israel Hayom.

IRNA quoted multiple Iraqi media sources claiming the attack was carried out by Israel and that they may have used American bases in northern Iraq to carry it out.

A former adviser to former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi tweeted that "the hypothesis that the Zionist regime has targeted the base of al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi is now the strongest hypothesis."

An Iraqi security analyst said that the attack seemed to be the work of either an Israeli drone, an ISIS Katyusha rocket or other enemies of the PMF.

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.


Iraqi sources told Al Jarida that the government would likely not attribute responsibility for the attack to Israel in order to play down the importance of the incident. If Israel is behind the attack, it would put the Iraqi government in a difficult position due to the role of US forces in the country.


The Lebanese al-Ahd news site quoted informed security sources as saying that the Iraqi PMF base was targeted by three Israeli Harop missiles which weigh 23 kg. and have a range of 1,000 km. according to Fars. "Only Israel is in possession of this type of weapon in the Middle East," according to Al-Ahd. The attack was carried out by an Israeli F-16, according to the news site.

Reports indicated that Hezbollah forces were deployed at the base, according to IRNA.

A spokesman for the Iraqi PMF dismissed the reports that Iranian military advisers were killed in the attack, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency.

"Opposite to what the biased media said, no advisers or IRGC (Islamic Revolution Guards Corps) forces have been killed," said Ali al-Hosseni on Saturday.

Fars also reported that the Arabic-language al-Etejah news channel had quoted "special sources" as saying that a US spy plane conducted reconnaissance operations against PMF and Iraqi army forces in the region before the attack on Friday.

"The US flew [a] B350 plane that is picked for [the] mission by the US intelligence services for air surveillance and is equipped with advanced vision systems. It can also carry 5 to 7 people," the source told al-Etejah.

Al-Arabiya also reported that the international coalition had been monitoring the base before the attack.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.


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