Report: 21 Iraqi Militia Members Killed in Explosion in Iran-linked Arms Depot

It remains unclear who is behind the blast however reports have linked the incident to a series of recent attacks, some of which have been attributed to Israel

Popular Mobilization Forces members stand by a burning truck after a drone attack near Qaim border crossing, in Anbar province, Iraq, August 25, 2019.
AP

Twenty-one Iraqi militia members were killed in the explosion of a weapons warehouse belonging to Iran-affiliated militias in Iraq's Anbar province, Iraqi military sources told Arab media outlets Tuesday.

Saudi-affiliated sites, including Al Arabiya and Sky News, reported the explosion and said that rescue teams were called to the scene. 

An Iraqi officer told local media that the sound of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) was heard in the region before the blast. At the moment it is unclear who is behind the blast however reports have linked the explosion to a recent series of attacks in the country, some of which has been attributed to Israel.

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Syrian outlets have not reported on the incident and officials have so far denied the explosion. 

The explosion comes one day after UAVs 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.

On Monday, the Israeli army said Shi'ite units led by Tehran's Quds Force attempted to fire several rockets Sunday overnight which failed to cross over to Israel.

U.S. officials told the New York Times in August that Israel has been attributed to "several strikes in recent days" in Iraq, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted of possible Israeli involvement in the latest attacks against Iranian-linked targets in the country.

A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran.