USA let Israel attack our bases — Iraq paramilitary groups

The explosion is the latest in a series of mysterious blasts to rock military bases and weapons depots around the country

The explosion is the latest in a series of mysterious blasts to rock military bases and weapons depots around the country

A powerful Iran-backed paramilitary force in Iraq has said it holds the USA responsible for a series of blasts at its bases in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, the Hashed said it had carried out its own investigation and pointed the finger at the United States military.

Four bases used by the Hashed have been hit by mysterious explosions over the past month, but there have been no claims of responsibility or media access to the facilities.

On Wednesday, the paramilitary group said in a statement it had carried out its own investigation and pointed the finger at the USA military, but also accused Israel of infringing Iraqi airspace. "We will act and now are acting against them, wherever it is necessary".

The statement said the attacks were carried out by "agents or in special operations with modern air planes", but did not provide further details.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have soared since May 2018, when President Donald Trump's administration unilaterally pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear accord agreed by major world powers with Tehran.

Members of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) paramilitaries march with the group's flags during a parade marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Day in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on May 31.

The US and Israel have not commented.

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The al-Saqr incident was the fourth in a series of explosions at similar facilities in the last month.

After a national security meeting last week, the Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, ordered a ban on all military flights throughout the country, unless specifically authorised by the defence ministry.

Israeli airstrikes in Iraq could complicate the US effort to combat a revived Islamic State insurgency there and risk drawing Iraq into escalating hostilities between the United States and Iran.

The Pentagon denied at the time that it was involved in that incident. "We operate in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq and comply with their laws and direction", it said, using an alternative name for Islamic State.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that an Iraqi government fact-finding committee had concluded the explosion was the result of a drone strike by an unidentified party.

Israel has warned repeatedly that it will not allow Iranian presence in Syria, and has admitted to perpetrating hundreds of airstrikes, preventing the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah that included surface-to-air missile kits.

Asked about the explosion on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Iran has no immunity, anywhere".

"Israeli intelligence has known for more than a year that Iran had begun deploying sophisticated rocket and ballistic missile systems into Iraqi territory, some to be based there permanently, others to be dispatched by land to Syria and Lebanon", the report added. Iraq declared victory over Islamic States in 2017, but there are still operations near-weekly against the group.

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