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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Death in an Attack on a Popular Mobilization Forces HQ in North Babel, Washington Denies Responsibility

Death in an Attack on a Popular Mobilization Forces HQ in North Babel, Washington Denies Responsibility

A member of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) was killed, and eight others were injured, including an army personnel, in an explosion and fire at the Kalsu camp in North Babel, the Iraqi Security Media Cell announced today (Saturday).
The explosion was the result of an aerial bombardment, according to two security sources, while the PMF later stated that it resulted from an attack.

The Security Media Cell added in a statement that a specialized technical committee consisting of civil defense and other relevant entities has been formed to determine the causes of the explosion and fire at the camp.

The statement also referenced a report issued by the Air Defense Command, confirming the absence of any drones or fighters in the skies of Babel before and during the explosion.

A security source in Babel province told the Arab World News Agency that the Kalsu camp is a joint facility hosting headquarters of PMF brigades, Iraqi army units, and units from the Federal Police.

Regarding the "aerial bombardment" of the Kalsu military base, two security sources did not specify to Agence France-Presse (AFP) the party responsible for the attack nor did they confirm if it was conducted using a drone.

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has clarified that the United States "did not carry out strikes" in Iraq on Friday, refuting claims of US involvement in air raids in Iraq made on the "X" platform.

In response to AFP, the Israeli military stated it does "not comment on reports in foreign media."

The PMF announced: "An explosion occurred at a (PMF) headquarters at the (Kalsu) military base, in the Al-Mashroo area on the expressway north of Babel province."

A team of investigators was dispatched to the site immediately, where the explosion resulted in material losses and injuries, the PMF said, promising to provide more details after the preliminary investigation concludes.

This incident in Iraq comes amidst a volatile regional situation fueled by the ongoing war in Gaza, while diplomatic efforts to prevent the conflict's expansion continue.

Early Friday, explosions were heard near a military base in Iran's Isfahan region, which the authorities downplayed without directly accusing Israel of the attack, and has occurred less than a week after an unprecedented direct Iranian attack against Israel.

Regarding "military escalation risks," a military official stationed at the "Kalsu" base in Iraq, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that three Iraqi army personnel were injured due to the bombardment on Friday night/Saturday morning.

Furthermore, a Ministry of Interior official confirmed that the explosion targeted the PMF's armor headquarters, affecting weapons, heavy arms, and armored vehicles.

The PMF is an integral part of Iraq's official security apparatus under the command of the Prime Minister but includes factions loyal to Iran, some of which have attacked US troops in Iraq and Syria as part of the international coalition against jihadists.

Following this explosion, which has yet to be claimed by any group, the US Central Command denied reports of conducting air strikes in Iraq on Friday.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry expressed "grave concern" over the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday evening, warning against "the risks of military escalation threatening regional security and stability." The ministry emphasized that this escalation should not distract from the ongoing destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani, still in the United States after meeting President Joe Biden earlier this week, has not commented.

In retaliation, Iraqi factions have declared targeting a "vital target" in Eilat, southern Israel, with drones early today (Saturday), according to the Arab World News Agency. The factions, identifying themselves as "the Islamic Resistance in Iraq," stated the attack was in response to the "Zionist massacres against unarmed Palestinian civilians and the Zionist enemy's violation of Iraqi sovereignty by targeting PMF camps."

These factions have claimed responsibility for targeting American military bases in Iraq and Syria and targets in Israel, as a response to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since October 7.

The "Kalsu" camp in Babel province, south of Baghdad, a facility used by some PMF formations, was subjected to missile bombardment last night (Friday).

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