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US Confirms Israel Behind Bombing in Iraq; First in Nearly Four Decades

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Many suspect that Israel is also behind several recent attacks on Iran-backed bases and weapons storage facilities in Iraq.

Edited by: JV Staff

U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel was behind a bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq in July, a move that signals Israel has expanded its targeting of Iran beyond Syria.

It is believed to be the first confirmed Israeli strike in Iraq in almost four decades.

The New York Times first reported the development on Thursday, which occurred on July 19.

The AP reported that the base hit housed advisers from Iran and Lebanon — a reference to the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group. He said the attack targeted the headquarters of the advisers and a weapons depot.

Iranian media reported a funeral for a “shrine defender” named Abolfazl Sarabian on the next day, which typically denotes someone fighting in Iraq and Syria, according to the AP report.

The confirmation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is strongly hinting that his country is behind recent airstrikes that have hit bases and munitions depot belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces operating in Iraq.

The AP reported that the attacks have not been claimed by any side and have left Iraqi officials scrambling for a response, amid strong speculation that Israel may have been behind them. Earlier this week, the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, openly accused Israeli drones of carrying out the attacks, but ultimately blamed Washington and threatened strong retaliation for any future attack.

Such attacks are potentially destabilizing for Iraq and its fragile government, which has struggled to remain neutral amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran, according to the AP report.

The AP report indicated that former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, known for his strong allegiance to Iran, warned of a “strong response” if it is proven that Israel was behind the recent airstrikes in Iraq.

In statements issued by his office on Friday, he also said that if Israel continues to target Iraq, the country “will transform into a battle arena that drags in multiple countries, including Iran.”

There have been several recent attacks on Iran-backed bases and weapons storage facilities. On Wednesday, the London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Israel was behind all three recent strikes in Iraq after reaching an understanding with the U.S. and Russia.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih al-Fayadh said on Thursday that Iraq doesn’t want to be “pushed into a way” between Iran and other countries.

“The Iraqi government and especially its security agencies and armed forces will take all measures necessary to protect Iraq and its people and to deter any attempts at destabilization,” he said.

Fayadh added that the Iraqi government has yet to determine who was behind the attacks. 

 

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