image Photo: Haim Zach, GPO

Iraq suspects U.S. or Israeli Involvement in Deadly Blast

A government-led investigation into the circumstances surrounding a massive fire at a weapons depot south of Baghdad, that resulted in a deadly explosion, is ongoing – with growing suspicions raised regarding “possible sabotage” that local officials allege, ‘may have been the works of a highly complex operation that could have been carried out by either Israel or the United States.’

A police source revealed that an initial investigation alluded to “negligence” and “poor storage conditions,” coupled with high temperatures of almost to 50 degrees Celsius, equal to some 122 degrees Fahrenheit, as the cause of the devastating blaze that led to the deadly explosion. Nevertheless, Iraqi officials have rejected the initial findings and have launched a more comprehensive investigating.

Since then, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat quoted an unnamed Iraqi security official as saying, ‘Israel or the U.S. could have been behind the blast.’ The source also noted that “It is obvious that (Iraq is) confronted with a real bone-grinding battle between the United States and Israel on the one hand, and Iran and its allies in Iraq on the other.” The source explained that “It is also obvious that both sides have chosen Iraq as the ground for their undeclared battle,” which insisting that “All signs indicate that Israel is completing, with US backing, what it started in Syria by striking Iranian targets.”

Meanwhile, many of the initial 29 wounded have already been released from surrounding medical facilities, with thirteen people remaining hospitalized. Among those hospitalized are also two Iraqi police officers and four members of the Iranian proxy, the Popular Mobilization Forces.

According to a local eyewitness, it was a miracle that only 29 people were initially injured as a result of the explosion. Iraqi resident Amar Mousa recalled “My wife and I were in the house. We ran out of the house, I saw other residents in the area running in panic. No one remained in their houses. Shrapnel and rockets started flying in the air and landing on the streets and houses. A rocket landed in that house but it did not explode. Soldiers came at night and removed it.”

In response to the deadly incident, Iraqi officials have revealed that Iran is storing arms in Iraq without  the knowledge of the Baghdad  government. In a statement that was published on the Vice President’s twitter account, Bahaa al-Aaraji said: “We can conclude that the weapons were being stored for safe keeping by a neighboring country and were targeted by an unjust colonial state based on a treasonous Iraqi tip off.” It is important to note that al-Aaraji heads a powerful anti-U.S. party in Iraq’s parliament that has traditionally supported Baghdad’s cooperation with Tehran.