Airstrikes said to target Iran-backed militia base in Iraq
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Airstrikes said to target Iran-backed militia base in Iraq

Popular Mobilization Force targets attacked for third time in a week; some have blamed Israel for strikes

Illustrative: Popular Mobilization Forces members stand by a burning truck after a drone attack blamed on Israel near Qaim border crossing, in Anbar province, Iraq, August 25, 2019. (AP Photo)
Illustrative: Popular Mobilization Forces members stand by a burning truck after a drone attack blamed on Israel near Qaim border crossing, in Anbar province, Iraq, August 25, 2019. (AP Photo)

An airstrike was reported Sunday afternoon in western Iraq, targeting a military base belonging to an Iran-backed force — the third such attack on the militia in a week and the fourth in a month.

“An unidentified aircraft targeted the area surrounding a military base next to the al-Murssinat [military] airport in the western part of the al-Anbar province,” Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen quoted sources as saying.

There were no casualties in the attack, the report said.

It added that the targeted military base belongs to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group of largely Iran-backed militias.

On Thursday, Arabic-language media reported that unknown aircraft attacked PMF posts in the Boukamal region of eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border, killing at least five people and wounding nine, after an earlier similar strike two days earlier.

Some Syrian and Iraqi outlets have said Israel was suspected of being behind the strikes. There were no such public allegations by Syrian or Iraqi officials.

On September 9, aircraft targeted an arms depot and posts of Iranian-backed militias in the Boukamal region, killing at least 18 fighters and destroying at least eight storehouses. A Syrian security official said at the time that Israeli jets were behind the attack but denied there were casualties.

Satellite image showing the aftermath of an overnight airstrike on an alleged Iranian military base in Syria’s Boukamal region, near the Iraqi border, on September 9, 2019. (ImageSat International)

Since mid-July, eight arms depots and training camps belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces have been targeted in apparent attacks.

The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network has reported that the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group also maintains a presence in the Boukamal region.

The PMF has blamed both Israel and the US for the string of blasts and drone sightings at its bases. Israeli officials have not publicly commented on these allegations, though Netanyahu has hinted at the possibility.

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