Israel has carried out several strikes on Iranian-controlled bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks with permission from the United States and Russia, Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Wednesday.
Moscow and Washington agreed that the Jewish state could conduct these attacks on Iranian targets in order to “ensure Israel’s security,” the source told the London-based newspaper. As part of the reported agreement, Israel would not publicly acknowledge carrying out the strikes.
In the past few weeks, a number of mysterious blasts have been reported in Iraqi military sites. 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 (PMF).
On Tuesday, Iraqi news outlets reported a large explosion hit an arms depot belonging to an Iranian-backed militia north of Baghdad.
The site struck on Tuesday is close to the Balad Air Base, which hosts US forces and contractors and is located about 80 km north of the Iraqi capital, in the Salahuddin province.
Iraq’s Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari visited the site shortly after the incident, telling Iraqi state television that fires resulting from the blast had been put out and that some military personnel had suffered minor injuries.
Earlier Tuesday, a member of Iraq’s defense cabinet claimed that an investigation into a strike last week on the Saqr military base in southwestern Baghdad had been carried out by an Israeli drone with support from the United States. Neither the US nor Israel commented on the allegations.
Israeli imaging company ISI on Thursday released satellite images showing the aftermath of last week’s explosion. The company assessed that the blast was caused by an airstrike, “followed by secondary explosions of the explosives stored in the depot.”
[Sources: The Times of Israel, Israel Hayom, Ynet News, Al-Jazeera]