Iran-backed Militia Says It Downed Surveillance Drone in Iraq

Popular Mobilization Forces intercepted a drone in Iraq's Diyala Province using anti-aircraft missiles, Al Manar reported

A members of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) walks past the PMF Media Center in Baghdad, Iraq, July 2, 2019.
\ KHALID AL-MOUSILY/ REUTERS

A prominent Iran-backed militia in Iraq said Wednesday it intercepted a surveillance drone east of Baghdad. According to a statement by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the drone had been collecting intelligence to prepare for an attack against military targets in the area.

Arab media, including Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar, reported the drone was intercepted in Iraq's Diyala Province using anti-aircraft missiles.

On Tuesday, 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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This follows a drone strike against Iran-backed forces in eastern Syria on Monday, which killed at least 18 militiamen, according to the opposition-affiliated Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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.