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PM Orders Probe in ‘Mysterious’ Strike on PMF Military Camp in Iraq

PM Orders Probe in ‘Mysterious’ Strike on PMF Military Camp in Iraq

Sunday, 21 July, 2019 - 06:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. (AP)

Iraqi Prime Minister and commander of the armed forces Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered on Saturday a probe into the strike against a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) military camp in norther Iraq a day earlier.

The attack by an unidentified aircraft has sparked fierce debate in Iraq. No group has claimed responsibility for the strike in the Salaheddine province, with fingers pointed to Israel given its recent threats to target Iran’s proxies in Iraq.

Initial reports said the strike was carried out by a drone, but a PMF official ruled out the possibility given the extent of the damage it caused.

Observers also noted PMF officials’ silence over the strike, contrary to previous incidents when they were quick to blame the United States.

They attributed the silence to the PMF’s keenness to avoid stoking tensions with Washington after it recently imposed sanctions on four PMF officials and associates.

PMF media official Ali al-Husseini told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We must await the results of the probe to find out what type of aircraft carried out the strike.”

“The strength of the rocket indicates that it was probably not fired by a drone,” he remarked.

ISIS does not have such capabilities and therefore the attack was probably launched by either the US or Israel, he noted, explaining that the American air force reigns supreme over Iraqi airspace.

Washington has denied involvement in the strike.

A security source, meanwhile, refuted the claim.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, it said that an American aircraft flown from a Kirkuk base had carried out the attack.

The American denial is understandable given the intelligence efforts against the PMF and attempts to rein it in, he added.

The strike did not lead to major losses, but it was a warning from the US, he said.

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