MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS : THE NEW ISRAELI FRONT – Israel doing military operations in Iraq: Israeli outlet
– By Rudaw 1 hour ago – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An Israeli media outlet reported that Israel is conducting military operations in Iraq in light of mysterious explosions at Iran-backed Shiite militia targets in the country.“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the military is operating in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries where Iran is ‘setting up bases against Israel,’” i24 reported on Thursday.
A spokesman for Netanyahu did not immediately reply to Rudaw’s request for a confirmation of his remarks.
Yesterday, deputy chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, said that explosions at a PMF installation on Tuesday in the Saladin province were the result of a US or Israeli strike.
This was only the latest in a series of blasts at PMF bases. On August 13, a massive explosion engulfed a PMF arms depot at the al-Saqr military base in Baghdad, killing one and injuring 13. On July 19, an airstrike blamed on an ISIS drone hit a PMF base in the Diyala province, injuring two PMF fighters and two Iranian advisors working there.
The US is denying the allegations it too was involved in explosions. Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said the US military took no part in the controversial blasts.
“The US is not involved in the recent warehouse explosions,” Robertson told Rudaw today. “The US presence in Iraq supports Iraq’s efforts against ISIS.”
Israel’s conflict with the the PMF stems from the considerable amount of support Iran gives to many PMF groups. Israel also strikes Iranian targets in Syria.
The PMF has also come under more scrutiny from the US lately due to heightened US-Iran tensions, since Iran gives considerable support to many PMF groups. The US Department of the Treasury has sanctioned some PMF members.
On Thursday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, and Speaker of the Council of Representatives met to declare that Iraq should not be part of any proxy war and that the explosions must be investigated. PMF head Faleh al-Fayyadh also said on Thursday that the investigation needs to finish in a rebuke oh Muhandis’ remarks.
Roj Eli Zalla contributed reporting