Issues

Explosion rocks arms depot of Iran-backed militia near Baghdad

A large explosion hit an arms depot belonging to an Iranian-backed militia faction north of Baghdad on Tuesday, the latest in a series of mysterious blasts at military bases and munitions depots around the country in the past few weeks.

The explosions have occurred in bases and warehouses belonging to militia groups under the umbrella of the mainly Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. The state-sanctioned PMF militias have fought alongside Iraq’s regular armed forces against the Islamic State extremist group.

The Iraqi Civil Defense said in a statement that Tuesday’s blast occurred near Balad air base, one of the country’s largest, which is home to US trainers and is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad. It said its members were trying to control a fire caused by the blast.

A Shiite militia group is stationed nearby.

The officials who confirmed the explosion spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

They said the blast occurred in a depot belonging to the PMF and that an investigation was underway.

The mysterious blasts have given rise to a host of theories, including that Israel may have conducted an airstrike.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast or other recent explosions.

In July, an explosion took place at a PMF base in Amirli, in Iraq’s northern Salaheddin province, killing two Iranians and causing a huge fire.

Read More: The Times of Israel