Iraq Under Fire: Airstrikes, Bombs and Casualties Reported in Babil

Published January 19th, 2021 - 11:28 GMT
Iraqi protesters are pictured next to burning tyres during clashes with police during anti-government demonstrations in the city of Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq on January 10, 2021. AFP
Iraqi protesters are pictured next to burning tyres during clashes with police during anti-government demonstrations in the city of Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq on January 10, 2021. AFP

Several Iraqi forces have apparently been killed in airstrikes against the positions of the Arab country’s military units in Jurf al-Sakhar, Babil province, local sources and media reports said.

At least four explosions were heard on Monday night in Jurf al-Sakhar region, according to local sources.

The attacks were apparently launched by F-16 warplanes and drones, and have killed nine Iraqi military forces so far, sources close to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, said.

Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV channel says American warplanes were flying over the al-Qaem area near the Iraqi-Syrian border following the attacks.

Thile several PMU units – especially those of Kata’ib Hezbollah – used to be stationed in the region, some Iraqi sources are saying the airstrikes have targeted the Arab country’s army personnel.

Despite speculations about the US role in the airstrikes, a senior US defense official has told Fox News there were no US airstrikes near Baghdad tonight.'

 

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted tweets about the 2019 attacks against the US embassy in Baghdad as the airstrikes were hitting Jurf al-Sakhar.

“When violent protestors attacked US Embassy in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve 2019, State Department special agents defended the compound against the mob for more than 40 hours, with no loss of life or serious injuries. #UnsungHeroes” he said in one of his tweets.

Sabereen News, which is close to the PMU, reports that the Iraqi prime minister has ordered the deployment of Iraqi troops near the US embassy in Baghdad to protect the compound against possible retaliatory attacks.

On December 20, a series of Katyusha rockets landed near the US embassy complex, which is inside Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone. The attack, which was the biggest one on Baghdad’s Green Zone since 2010, caused minor damage to buildings there.

Anti-American sentiments have run high since the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMU, in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport.

The US embassy was targeted several times last year amid heightened anti-American sentiments in Iraq in the aftermath of the assassinations.

After the terrorist act, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the expulsion of US forces from the Arab country.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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