U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel was behind at least one airstrike on an Iranian weapons cache in Iraq.
According to the American-based New York Times, Middle Eastern and U.S. officials said that the weapons depot was meant to be transferred to Syria. It is important to note that the New York Times report did not refer to this week’s attack, involving multiple blasts on bases and warehouses belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces – or Hashd al-Shaab in Arabic – which is an Iraqi state- sponsored umbrella organization that is predominantly composed of Shi’ite militias that receive most of their training, logistical support and operational directives from Iran and its Lebanese-proxy Hezbollah, including the commander of the elite ‘Quds Force’ of the ‘Islamic Revolutionary Guards,’ General Qassem Suleimani.
The Times report instead focused on a July 19 strike on a base near Baghdad an unnamed “Middle East intelligence official” said was used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to move “a cargo of guided missiles with a range of 125 miles” (slightly over 200 kilometers). At the time of the incident, an Iraqi military official confirmed that three people were killed, including one Iranian.
The New York Times article came more than 24 hours after our own report, citing “Informed sources in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv [who] confirmed to TV7 that Israeli units were indeed involved in clandestine operations against Iranian targets in Iraq.” One of the sources also noted to TV7 that “all of the Israeli operations are conducted in full-coordination with the United States.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel is operating against Iran in Iraq, while reiterating that the Islamic Republic is not immune, no matter where it has situated its forces.
In an exclusive interview with Israel’s domestic main Russian-language Channel 9, the Israeli leader underscored that the operations are conducted: “We do not give immunity, I don’t give immunity to Iran, anywhere. Iran is a country, a power, which has declared its desire to annihilate Israel. It is trying to establish bases against us everywhere. In Iran itself, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen…” When asked if Israel would operate in Iraq if necessary, the Israeli leader said: “We are operating – not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us.” Mr. Netanyahu did not elaborate on the matter.