Airstrike Targets Iran-backed Militias Near Iraq-Syria Border, Media Reports Say

Iraqi channel attributes strike to Israel ■ Reports come a week after a deadly strike on militias in Syria that a Syrian official blamed on Israel

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Strike in Syria, July 2019.
Strike in Syria, July 2019.Credit: SANA / Reuters
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

An airstrike targeted Iran-backed militias near the border between Iraq and Syria overnight Monday, according to media reports in both countries. One Iraqi news channel attributed the attack in Al Bukamal to Israel.

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The purported strike came a week after twenty-one people were reportedly killed in an explosion at a weapons warehouse used by Iran-affiliated militias in Iraq's Anbar province. Iraqi military sources and reports in Arab media outlets didn't say who was responsible for it, but the incident was linked to recent attacks in the country, some attributed to Israel.

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The explosion came a day after drones struck Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria, killing at least 18 militia fighters. A Syrian security official said Israeli jets staged the airstrikes, but denied there were any casualties.

A series of recent strikes in Iraq have been attributed to Israel, some taking place near the Syrian border. The attacks were aimed at Shi’ite militias affiliated with Iran, aimed at foiling attempts to smuggle weapons into Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that Iran has no immunity anywhere and that the Israeli military forces "will act — and currently are acting — against them."

Earlier this month, Israel and the Lebanese, Iran-backed group Hezbollah traded fire for the first time in years. Hezbollah launched anti-tank missiles at an Israeli armored vehicle near the border, causing no casualties. Israel retaliated with artillery fire into southern Lebanon. Hezbollah said the attack was retaliation for an Israeli airstrike near Damascus last month that killed two of its members. Israel said the attack thwarted an Iranian-orchestrated drone attack squad. Days after the airstrike, Hezbollah said two Israeli attack drones crash-landed in Beirut.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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