Iraq military base hit by explosion, several injured: Sources

World Saturday 20/April/2024 18:25 PM
By: Agencies
Iraq military base hit by explosion, several injured: Sources

Baghdad: An explosion rocked a military base in Iraq overnight into Saturday, news agencies reported, citing security sources.

The blast hit the Calso military base in Babylon province south of the capital, Baghdad. The base houses a coalition of pro-Iranian armed groups.

The groups are Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, or Hashed al-Shaabi, AFP news agency cited an Interior Ministry source and a military official as saying.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and US Central Command (CENTCOM) added that it was "not true" that American forces had carried out a strike.

The Interior Ministry source said the "aerial bombing" killed one person and wounded eight others, while the military source reported three Iraqi military personnel were wounded in a strike.

Hashed al-Shaabi wrote in a statement that an "explosion" had inflicted "material losses" and casualties, without specifying the number of wounded.

The group confirmed that its premises on the military base had been hit and that investigators had been sent to the site.

The international community has voiced concerns that the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas is turning into a wider, regional conflict.

On Friday, strikes blamed on Israel targeted a military base near the city of Isfahan in central Iran.

The attack was likely retaliation for Iran's drone and missile attack on Israeli territory last weekend.

The blasts, notably, took place at a site belonging to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as per Muhannad al-Anazi, a member of the Security Committee in Babylon Governorate, south of Baghdad.

The investigation into the blasts that occurred "at the Kalsu military base in the Al-Mashrou district on the highway, north of the Babylon Governorate," is underway.

Israeli and US officials said neither was involved in the blast, a day after a military strike on Iran which has been attributed to Israel.

The PMU, in contrast to other organisations in the area, is affiliated with the local administration and has strong ties to Shiite blocs in Iran that have dominated Iraqi politics for a long time, according to CNN.

The explosion occurred during a period of intense tension in the Middle East as Israel fights Hamas in Gaza following the organisation's deadly assault into southern Israel on October 7, which was sponsored by Iran.

This month's tit-for-tat strikes have also exposed Israel and Iran's long-running covert conflict.

Israel launched a potentially deadly military strike on Iran early on Friday, a US official told CNN. Although no significant damage was recorded, Iran and Israel have not stated where the strike originated.

Iran's air defence systems were activated in several locations after multiple explosions were heard close to the airport and an army base in the Iranian city of Isfahan, state media reported early Friday morning.

The missile launches come after Iran launched an offensive on targets around Israel on Saturday last week, according to Israeli military authorities, in which the nation fired a barrage of over 300 unmanned drones and missiles.