A powerful Iraqi paramilitary force, Hashd al-Shaabi, said Wednesday that it considered the United States responsible for a series of explosions in recent weeks against some of its bases and weapons depots.
“We announce that US forces are the only entity responsible for what happened, and we will hold them accountable for everything that will happen from now on,” said the Shiite-dominated force.
Four bases used by members of Hashd al-Shaabi have been affected by explosions of undetermined origin in the past month. The media could not access these sites and no claim was made public.
But Wednesday, the paramilitary force said it conducted its own investigation, pointing the finger at the United States who are present militarily in Iraq. On the other hand, it gave no details about the origin of the explosions and the possible attacks that caused them.
The US-led military coalition operating in Iraq as part of the Islamic State (IS) fight against the jihadists did not wish to respond to Hashd al-Shaabi’s accusations.
This paramilitary force, also heavily involved in the war against IS alongside Iraqi troops, has many pro-Iranian armed groups in its midst who are opposed to the US presence in Iraq.
Hashd al-Shaabi also said, based on his investigation, that US forces had this year let four Israeli drones enter the Iraqi airspace and “aim for Iraqi military headquarters.” But he did not explicitly accuse Israel of leading the attacks on his bases.
In mid-July, the Iraqi military command reported a drone bombing of a Hashd al-Shaabi base in central Amerli, which killed an Iraqi fighter and wounded two Iranians.
The United States had immediately made it known that they were not the perpetrators of this bombing.
Some 5,200 American soldiers are based in Iraq, notably to train and advise the Iraqi forces.
The Iraqi authorities have been worried for months that tensions between its two big allies – Washington and Tehran – will escalate on their own soil.