For the first time Iraq’s government has issued formal charges blaming Israel for a spate of attacks on Iraqi soil over the past months. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Monday the result of weeks-long investigations into multiple airstrikes and violations of Iraq’s airspace show Israel’s military to be the culprit.
“Investigations into the targeting of some Popular Mobilization Forces positions indicate that Israel carried it out,” Abdul Mahdi told Al Jazeera. Though Tel Aviv was long suspected of prior ‘mystery’ airstrikes on Iran-backed paramilitary bases in July and August, with even Netanyahu strongly hinting responsibility in an Aug. 30 campaign speech, Mahdi’s condemnation marks the first high level allegation from a top Iraqi official.
The ‘mystery’ explosions that have rocked ammunition depots and bases in and around Baghdad have been stepped up through September, including incidents on Sept. 9, 19, and 22, resulting in dozens of killed and wounded; and more recently last Friday on Imam Ali base near the border with Syria.
In total international reports count nine strikes on Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) — in some cases while they were allegedly operating just across the country’s western border with Syria.
Iraq’s prime minister also raised the spectre of war amid a broader standoff between Tel Aviv’s and Tehran, saying “many indicators show that no one wants war in the region except for Israel,” according to a translation by Reuters.
Israel has long accused Iran of hosting IRGC officers and missiles, with Israeli and Saudi media also claiming Lebanese Hezbollah maintains a presence in the Boukamal region, which was bombed reportedly by either Israeli drones or jets last week.
There’s currently speculation that the Trump administration may have greenlighted stepped up Israeli attacks on Iranian proxies in the region as an alternative to direct war with Iran.
This after defense officials have voiced concern Iran is utilizing Iraq’s PMF units to aid Syrian forces in establishing a security corridor stretching along the Syrian-Iraq border, or so-called Iranian “land bridge”.