Another mystery airstrike was conducted over Iraq late Friday night, after a summer that's witnessed Baghdad blame Israel for a series of unprecedented violations of its airspace to carry out alleged strikes on Iran-linked Shia militias in the country.
This newest incident involved an attack on Imam Ali base near the border with Syria, in an area which Israeli defense officials have voiced concern Iran is utilizing Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to aid Syrian forces in establishing a security corridor stretching along the Syrian-Iraq border, or so-called Iranian "land bridge".
Israeli media has taken keen interest in each new 'mystery' attack on Iraq of late after last month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed in public comments that he's been forced to "defend" Israel's security and "interests" even in faraway Iraq.
The Times of Israel described of the overnight Friday attack:
Unknown aircraft reportedly struck bases belonging to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq close to the Syrian border late Friday night.
The Shiite fighters in the Boukamal region responded with anti-aircraft fire, according to local media. There were no reported casualties.
The area has been hit by several airstrikes in recent weeks that some have attributed to Israel.
Earlier in the week Israeli media featured satellite images released by the private Israeli intelligence company ImageSat International which had revealed extensive construction underway on military compounds along the border.
#Followup #Thread, 1/4 - Despite airstrikes in #Albukamal, #Syria, construction still ongoing within "Imam Ali" base and the #Iran|ian crossing.#ISI #IMINT #VISINT #Satellite #Intelligence #ImamAli #military #defence #defense #Hizballah #Hezbollah #iraq #militias #ISIS #SDF pic.twitter.com/ndxXvhbOyF— ImageSat Intl. (@ImageSatIntl) September 24, 2019
Notably the attack came on the same day Iraq announced re-opening of the key al-Qa’im border crossing in Boukamal, which had once been controlled by ISIS.
Should there be proof or confirmation that Israel was indeed behind the overnight airstrikes, it could signal the start of a more aggressive Israeli campaign to ensure pro-Iranian forces can't establish bases along the Syrian border. Such Israeli operations are likely to receive Washington's tacit blessing.
Last month The New York Times confirmed that at least some among a spate of airstrikes on Shia militia compounds in and around Baghdad were carried out by Israel.
This after Netanyahu said during an Aug. 30 Facebook campaign live stream event to political supports that “I am doing everything to defend our nation’s security from all directions: in the north facing Lebanon and Hezbollah, in Syria facing Iran and Hezbollah, unfortunately in Iraq as well facing Iran. We are surrounded by radical Islam led by Iran.”
Similar attacks by unknown aircraft (involving either drones or jets) on Western Iraq and the border area came on Sept. 9, 19, and 22 — resulting in dozens of total casualties.
Currently there's a move in Iraqi parliament to order all American troops in the country expelled, given the widespread accusation the US coalition is turning a blind eye to the intensifying Israeli strikes.