Netanyahu Appears to Confirm Recent Israeli Attacks on Iraq

Iraqi militia leaders offer conflicting statements on the matter

In comments Thursday during an interview with Russian-language Channel 9, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to confirm weeks of reported Israeli strikes against Iraqi territory.

Asked about the matter, Netanyahu said Israel was operating “not just if needed” but also in many areas around the region where they believed they could hit Iranian targets or interests. He added he’d given the military “a free hand,” though he did not directly address any particular attacks.

This lines up with satellite photos of the various targeted sites, which reports appeared to confirm were targeted with airstrikes, and not random explosions. Further reports suggested Israel’s attacks had advanced approval from the US and Russia both.

Israel and the US both treat the Shi’ite militias in Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as “Iranian proxies,” even though the groups are formally part of Iraq’s security services. The deputy leader of the PMF had yesterday blamed the US and Israel for the attacks. The organization’s chief contested that on Thursday, saying that there were preliminary signs of an external attack but that conclusions had yet to be reached.

These recent attacks have led the Iraqi government to try to exercise greater control over foreign flights in their airspace. The US initially said they would comply, but have since disavowed this.

One of the PMF forces, Hashd Shaabi, seems to be more proactive about planes flying around the capital all willy-nilly, opening fire on a spy plane near the capital of Baghdad on Thursday.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.