Gulf tensions: Iran-backed forces blame US for attacks on bases in Iraq

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 22 August 2019, 07:06 AM
The most recent explosion came on Tuesday night, at a base north of Baghdad
The most recent explosion came on Tuesday night, at a base north of Baghdad

In a rare statement issued, Iraqi paramilitary forces backed by Iran said on Wednesday they hold the United States responsible for attacks targeting their bases in the country. The statement issued by the Popular Mobilisation Forces, or PMF, said the group has accurate information that shows the US brought in four Israeli drones this year to work as part of the US fleet in Iraq and target militia positions in Iraq.

“We announce that the United States is ultimately responsible for what happened and we will hold it responsible for what will happen as of today.

We have no choice but to defend ourselves and our bases with the weapons at our disposal,” said the statement, which was signed by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the PMF.         

The statement came as an Iraqi government report obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday said a massive explosion at a munition’s depot run by an Iranian-backed militia near Baghdad last week was caused by a drone strike.

The most recent explosion came on Tuesday night, at a base north of Baghdad.

The findings obtained by the AP deepened the question of who is behind the explosions.

Tensions are high between the US and Iran after President Trump pulled the US out of an international accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and has reimposed sanctions on Iran—and even slapped them on Zarif this week—in an effort to force it to renegotiate the agreement.

Tensions soared in the Gulf in June and July amid attacks on oil tankers, Iran’s downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone and after the US said it had downed an Iranian drone. Trump has said the attack against the US drone prompted him to order a military strike in response, only to call it off at the last minute.

First Published: Thursday, August 22, 2019 07:06 AM

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