Media outlets in Iraq reported early Tuesday morning that an unmanned aerial vehicle struck a weapons depot belonging to pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in the country’s west, less than 24 hours after a mysterious airstrike killed 18 pro-Iranian militants on the Syria-Iraq border.
According to reports, the weapons depot targeted overnight Monday was located near the Iraqi city of Hit, in the country’s western Anbar province that borders. There were no confirmed reports of casualties as a result of the strike.
An airstrike attributed to Israel targeted overnight Sunday a base belonging to a pro-Iranian Shi’ite militia in Syria near the border with Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, adding that at least 18 Iranians and their allies were killed in the strike.
The attack caused a great deal of damage to the base, known as the Imam Ali compound, which Israel reportedly believes was a key element in Tehran’s effort to develop a so-called “land bridge” that would allow the Islamic Republic to easily move weapons, fighters, and war materiel from Iran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
A Syrian military official told Hezbollah’s al-Mayadeen network on Monday that Israel and the US are responsible for the attack, which he claimed targeted a “Syrian base” under construction for “regime forces.”
According to Israeli satellite imagery analysis company ImageSat International (ISI), the airstrike completely destroyed at least eight warehouses in the compound, which is located approximately five kilometers (three miles) from the Iraqi border in Syria’s Albukamal region.
The Imam Ali compound was first publicly identified as “classified Iranian project” earlier this month by Fox News, citing unnamed Western intelligence sources. Satellite images by ISI confirmed the construction of the site.
The ISI assessment is that if the site is indeed an Iranian base, “it is probable that the strike is part of the struggle with Tehran to prevent its effort of establishing the land corridor to its allies in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Shortly after the strike, members of a Shi’ite militia in Syria fired a number of rockets toward Mount Hermon on the Israeli Golan Heights from the outskirts of Damascus, the IDF said, adding that the projectiles fell within Syrian territory, two kilometers from the border with Israel.
[Sources: Israel Hayom, The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Press]