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Large explosions reported at base south of Baghdad

Al-Arabiya and al-Mayadeen both report that large explosions have been seen at Al-Saqr Camp south of Baghdad, which is a base allegedly belonging to both Popular Mobilization Force units and Iraqi state security forces.

The Popular Mobilization Forces form an umbrella group of Iraqi militias, created after a 2014 fatwa by Iraqi Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani, which called on Iraqis to fight the Islamic State. Some of the militias are backed by Iran, some by the Iraqi government, and others are loyal to Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iraqi security services claim the explosions are the result of ammunition overheating in the sweltering summer heat, according to Baghdad-based Nas News.

The explosions, however, come at a time of heightened tensions and threats between Iran and the United States after a US fighter jet allegedly narrowly passed an Iranian passenger plane in Syria.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Aaron Boxerman

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