Explosions were reported south of Baghdad in the Iraqi town of Jurf al-Sakhar overnight on Monday in what could have been US airstrikes, although nothing has been confirmed. Nine people have been reported killed in the incident, according to local sources and Arab news outlets.
Sources close to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a group of mostly Shia state-sponsored militias, told Iran’s PressTV that the attacks were carried out by F-16 warplanes and drones.
The PressTV report said the location of the alleged airstrikes was where PMF forces and Kataib Hezbollah used to be stationed, although they said the attacks targeted and killed members of Iraq’s regular army. Kataib Hezbollah is a Shia militia that the US has previously targeted.
Although there is speculation that the US was responsible, a senior Pentagon official told Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin that there were no US airstrikes in Baghdad overnight on Monday.
Other reports indicate that some in Iraq suspect Israel could have been behind the alleged attacks. The Israelis frequently carry out airstrikes in neighboring Syria against Shia militias, which have stepped up in recent weeks. In 2019, Israel carried out airstrikes against PMF forces in Iraq.
If Israel was behind the incident, it would be typical of the Israelis not to publicly acknowledge the attacks. Israel usually pursues a policy of ambiguity over its airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria and rarely acknowledges the strikes.