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Airstrikes target Iran-backed Iraqi militia base near Syria border Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Airstrikes target Iran-backed Iraqi militia base near Syria border

The Hashd al-Shaabi was established in 2014 from mostly-Shia armed groups and volunteers. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2019

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Unknown aircraft reportedly launched airstrikes on a base belonging to Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militia forces in Iraq.
Unidentified aircraft reportedly carried out airstrikes on bases belonging to the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) militia near Syria's border late on Friday.

Local Iraqi media reported that Hashd al-Shaabi fighters responded with anti-aircraft fire, with no reported casualties.

Since mid-July, five Hashd al-Shaabi arms depots and training camps have been targeted in apparent attacks. 

The latest such incident took place on Sunday, Iraqi security officials said, with airstrikes targeting a base belonging to the Iran-backed 'Tafuf Brigade' militia.

Last month, an Iraqi parliamentarian and leading member of the Shia paramilitary force said Iraq found Israel is "certainly" behind several attacks on militia bases.

US and Middle Eastern intelligence officials confirmed in August that a string of unclaimed attacks against the Shia militia bases in Iraq were carried out by Israel.

Read more: Suspected Israeli airstrikes worry Iraqi politicians

Israeli officials have expressed concern that Iran is building a major military compound in the border area to establish a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria, to facilitate the transfer of arms and fighters.

The strikes appear to correspond with this alleged supply route.

Israel has repeatedly bombed Iranian targets in neighbouring Syria, but an expansion of the campaign to Iraq would risk damaging Washington's relations with Baghdad.

Iran has a strong military or militia presence in Iraq and Syria and backs Lebanese movement Hezbollah. 

The Hashd al-Shaabi was established in 2014 from mostly-Shia armed groups and volunteers to fight the Islamic State group and is now formally part of Iraq's armed forces.

But the US and Israel fear some units are an extension of their arch-foe Iran and have been equipped with precision-guided missiles that could reach Israel. 

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