Israel Blamed For Fresh Airstrikes Deep Inside Iraq
BBC is reporting a possible rare Israeli airstrike deep inside Iraq targeting pro-Iranian militias at Najaf, Iraq. BBC Middle East correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard writes that “Iran-backed Imam Ali Brigade says that airstrikes targeted their ammunition depot in Najaf, Iraq.”
In addition “Some paramilitary groups-linked channels claim that Israel is behind the attack,” according to Kohnavard. “Israel carried out an attack on a PMF base” Iran-backed groups-linked claim in the aftermath of a severe fire that broke out at an ammunition depot in Najaf. Though Israeli involvement is being widely alleged in Iraqi social media, there’s as yet been no confirmation from any official side.
— INTELSky (@Intel_Sky) July 26, 2021
Separately Tehran-based Mehr News agency is confirming the attack, which it says involved drone strikes during the early evening Baghdad local time.
However, official Iraqi sources were not immediately forthcoming in identifying blame. There’s the other possibility that it could have been a US action, or the depot could have ignited by accident or related to the extreme heat currently besetting the region, some observers speculated. Regional media carried official Iraqi PMU statements as follows:
“Hostile drones targeted one of the bases of the Division in Najaf province,” Imam Ali Division said in a statement, reported by Iraqi state media.
“The drone bombed one of the ammunition depots in al-Dilok Camp at 3:30pm on Monday before re-targeting the same camp at 5:30pm,” it said.
Though very rare, it wouldn’t mark the first such Israeli action inside Iraq if confirmed. In July 2019 a series of strikes targeting Iran-backed groups appeared to be the work of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Social media video circulating on Iraqi militia channels of the Monday strike in Najaf…
Aftermath of the double drone strike on a Hashd al-Shaabi camp in the holy city of Najaf. pic.twitter.com/EUJrSdaR5p
— HST 🇮🇶 (@Twelver313) July 26, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister had boasted at the time, and apparently in reference to the attacks, that “Iran is not immune anywhere”. Tel Aviv later owned up to it.
Despite the more hawkish Netanyahu recently leaving office, the new prime minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to not let up on military pressure targeting Iranian assets and interests in the region. On the other side of the border, in Syria, Israel has kept up an intense, almost weekly basis, bombing campaign against “Iran-backed groups” allies with President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel just opened a whole new front against a resistance force that for sure will not remain silent against such aggression. https://t.co/Z2eSN9jJNd
— Marwa Osman || د. مروة عثمان (@Marwa__Osman) July 26, 2021
The strikes hit deep inside southern Iraq…
Amid rumors that the US military could pull all troops out of Iraq next, as the Iraqi prime minister is pressuring Washington to do, Israel might decide to get in early to “fill the security vacuum” in terms of ‘counter-Iran’ military action.
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 04:15