Drones Strike Iran-backed Militia Base on Syria-Iraq Border, Iraqi Sources Say

Marking fourth time in two weeks that sites run by Shi'ite militias were targeted in the border region

A billboard shows Iranian and Iraqi Shiite spiritual leaders, and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces who were killed in Iraq fighting Islamic State militants, in Baghdad, Iraq, September 18, 2019.
Khalid Mohammed,AP

An unmanned aerial vehicle struck the targets within a Iran-backed militia base on the Iraqi-Syrian border, sources in Iraq reported Friday night.

The bases belong to the Popular Mobilization Forces, Shi'ite militias operating in Iraq, in the Al-Bukamal area.

On Sunday, Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen television network quoted Iraqi sources saying that a drone struck a military base near an airfield west of Iraq's Anbar province, which serves an Iranian-backed militia. No casualties were reported. 

Hours later, a second attack on a base in the Fallujah area, used by Popular Mobilization Forces fighters, was reported by Al Hadath, citing Iraqi security sources.

Last Wednesday, Iraqi sources reported a drone strike on a weapons warehouse belonging to the paramilitary group. An Iraqi security source told Sky News in Arabic that five people were killed and nine wounded in the attack.

Following the strike, the troops dispersed to avoid further assaults, the source added; they also moved ammunition to hidden locations to make it more difficult to strike them from the air.

Last Monday, there were reports in Iraq of a strike on weapon storage facilities run by militias affiliated with Iran. Iraq's Afaq TV attributed the attack to Israel, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 10 Iran-backed fighters died. 

Recently, Israel has been accused of carrying out a series of strikes in Iraq — some of them in the country's west, near the Syrian border. The strikes targeted Iran-backed, Shi'ite militias and its convoys that were smuggling weapons into the area. While Israel did not confirm it carried out the strikes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted on several occasions that Israel will not hesitate to extend the borders of the fight against Iran.