On August 22nd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to admit that Israel attacked allegedly Iran-backed militant positions in Iraq throughout July and August.
“I don’t grant Iran immunity anywhere,” he said to Channel 9. “Iran is a state, a power, that has sworn to annihilate Israel. It’s trying to establish bases against us everywhere. In Iran itself, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen.”
Then, Netanyahu was asked the following question:
“In other words, if necessary, we act in Iraq also?”
To which he replied:
“We’re acting not only if necessary, we’re acting in very many theaters against a state that seeks to annihilate us. Obviously, I’ve given the security forces the order and the operational freedom to do what is necessary in order to disrupt these plots by Iran. And obviously I’ve also led, and in many ways continue to lead, a global effort against Iran. And there were years when I stood alone.”
Just days earlier Netanyahu made similar remarks, on August 19th.
“Iran has no immunity, anywhere,” he said. The Iranians continue to threaten Israel with annihilation and are building military bases across the Middle East intended to carry out that goal, Netanyahu said, blaming the 2015 nuclear deal for Iran’s increasing aggression. “We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary,” he declared.
“A state that says, ‘We are going to destroy you and we will build bases to fire missiles and to send terrorist cells against you’ — as far as I’m concerned, has no immunity,” he told reporters. “We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary,” he said while visiting Ukraine.
Separately, the New York Times cited anonymous senior US officials who said that Israel carried out several strikes in recent days in Iraq.
Most recently, on August 20th an ammunitions depot exploded the area near Balad Air Base, 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Baghdad. Initial media reports claimed that it was a result of a drone strike. The depot is operated by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
The PMU also operated another weapons depot that exploded on August 12th at al-Saqr military base near Baghdad. The incident left 1 dead and 29 injured.
A PMU checkpoint was attacked just days earlier Syrian-Iraqi border at Albukamel, nobody was harmed.
Earlier than that, two Iranians were reportedly killed by a blast at a base in Amerli, in the same area of the al-Saqr military base on July 19th.
Pro-Iranian al Mayadeen TV quoted Iraqi member of parliament Karim al Alewi, who belongs to the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, as saying that Israeli planes were “responsible for two previous ammunition dump explosions at Amerli and Saqf” during the past month.
Alewi also alleged that “the U.S. controls Iraqi air space” and that “no planes, including Iraqi jets or helicopters, can overfly the area without U.S. knowledge or permission.”
Following all of the incidents, Iraq’s national security adviser, Falih al-Fayadh, said that Iraq wanted to avoid taking sides in any struggle between Iran and other countries and being “pushed into a war.”
“The Iraqi government and especially its security agencies and armed forces will take all measures necessary to protect Iraq and its people and to deter any attempts at destabilization,” he said.
He said the government had yet to determine who was behind the attacks, despite accusations of some MPs.
Jamal Jaafar Al-Ibrahim, the deputy chief of the PMU, blamed “American and Israeli aircraft” for carrying out “repeated attacks” on the groups’ local headquarters.
It is possible that Israel is, in fact, carrying out the attacks, with the US largely keeping quiet about it, with “anonymous” officials confirming them.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Iraqi PMU Opened Fire At Drone That Flew Over One Of Its Positions
- Iraqi PMU Vows To Respond To U.S.-Israeli Aggression
- Iraq Closes Airspace Even To US Coalition Flights After Suspected Israeli Raid