Iran-Backed Militia Hit By Airstrike In Iraq, Israel Denies Involvement

2024-04-20 11:00:00

A day after Israel carried out a limited counterstrike against Iran, a military base belonging to an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia has been hit by an overnight drone and airstrikes outside Baghdad, Arab media reported early Saturday. The targeted base belonged to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iran-linked outfit.

Unlike the Friday’s aerial strike on Iranian military facilities, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did not comment on the incident. According to the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS, “both U.S. and Israeli officials have denied involvement in the attack.”

The Jerusalem Post reported, citing Arab news outlets:

Significant strikes were carried out overnight between Friday and Saturday against targets of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, south of Baghdad, as reported by Saudi-owned Al-Hadath network. Additionally, Iraqi media claimed that the attack was carried out by a number of drones targeting a military base belonging to the militias. Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Saturday that the explosion which took place at its command post at Kalso military base was the result of an attack.

The news agency Reuters described the incident near Baghdad as a single massive blast caused by an airstrike:

A huge blast at a military base in Iraq early on Saturday killed a member of an Iraqi security force that includes Iran-backed groups. The force commander said it was an attack while the army said it was investigating and there were no warplanes in the sky at the time.

Two security sources had said earlier that an airstrike caused the blast, which killed a member of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and wounded eight others at Kalso military base about 50 km (30 miles) south of Baghdad.

IDF hits Hezbollah terror targets in Lebanon amid cross-border rocket attacks

The IDF hit more Hezbollah targets as Iran-backed terrorist group stepped up missile and drones attacks into northern Israel in recent days.

“Earlier today, IDF soldiers identified several Hezbollah terrorists via a drone. The terrorists operated in a military compound in the area of Blida in southern Lebanon. Upon the identification of the terrorists, IAF fighter jets struck the compound from which they operated,” the Israeli military revealed in a press statement Saturday.

IDF operating in central Gaza, civilians began evacuating from Hamas stronghold of Rafah

Nearly two weeks after Israel withdrew most troops from Gaza, the IDF is conducting ground operations and airstrikes against terrorist targets—particularly in the central part of the Hamas-infested enclave.

“Over the past day, IAF fighter jets and additional aircraft struck dozens of terror targets, assisting IDF ground troops. Among the targets were military infrastructures, compounds, and armed terrorists,” the military said in a press release Saturday. “IDF troops are continuing to conduct counterterrorism activities in central Gaza. During one of the incidents, the troops identified a terrorist who posed a threat to them and eliminated him.”

In recent days, IDF’s Nahal Brigade “eliminated terrorists in close-quarters encounters and, with the cooperation of the Brigade’s Fire Control Center, direct the IAF forces to destroy terrorist infrastructure in the area,” the military disclosed in a separate statement Saturday.

The Israeli plan to evacuate civilians out of Rafah—Hamas’s last major stronghold in Gaza—appears to be taking shape. Civilians were reportedly moving out of the area in large numbers. The IDF has been dropping leaflets and messaging Rafah residents to move away from the potential combat zone where Hamas’s terrorist leadership is believed to be hiding behind the remaining Israeli hostages, serving as their human shields.

“Since the partial withdrawal of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from the Gaza Strip, approximately 250,000 Palestinians have relocated from the town of Rafah to other areas further north, particularly between Nuseirat and Khan Younes, south of the Wadi Gaza line,” i24NEWS TV reported Saturday. “This mass exodus follows the peak of the military operation in the Gaza Strip when Rafah was home to 1.3 million Palestinians.”

“In response to the population movement, Israel has announced plans to establish 10,000 tents in the area outside Rafah within the next two weeks. Additionally, an additional 30,000 tents are being acquired for deployment at a later date,” the broadcaster added.

Israeli security services continue fighting terrorists groups in the West Bank, carrying out a raid over the weekend in the Palestinian Authority-controlled area. A senior Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative along with nine other terrorists was reportedly eliminated in the anti-terror raid.

The Times of Israel reported Friday:

Palestinian media outlets report that a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist was killed in the IDF’s raid in Tulkarem this morning.

Muhammad Jaber, known as Abu Shuja’a, was the commander of Islamic Jihad’s local wing in Tulkarem, the reports say.

He was one of several gunmen killed amid the operation in the city’s Nur Shams refugee camp.


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Iran-Backed Militia Hit By Airstrike In Iraq, Israel Denies Involvement


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