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Iraqi investigation finds Israel responsible for some attacks on Hashd

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Iraqi government is preparing to lodge a complaint with the United Nations after it “conclusively” concluded that Israel was behind attacks on Popular Mobilization Camps, a parliamentary leader said.

The Popular Mobilization Forces, formed in 2014 and comprised mainly Shiite factions and some pro-Iranian, have blamed Israel and the United States for a series of explosions and drones that targeted its headquarters in recent weeks, but Baghdad has refrained from direct charges so far.

However, the leader of the Popular Mobilization, spokesman for the “conquest” parliamentary bloc MP Ahmed al-Asadi, said in an interview with reporters in his office in central Baghdad, the government investigations have found evidence of Israeli involvement.

Asadi said that “some government investigations have concluded that the perpetrator in some of these acts is Israel, absolutely and certainly.”

He added that “the government is working on the preparation of sufficient evidence and documents to authorize the complaint to the Security Council (…) will not file a complaint against unknown.”

Although the Hashd factions are officially within the state, the United States and Israel fear that the force could be an extension of their arch-foe Iran, and that Tehran would have provided it with precision-guided missiles that could hit Israel.

Since mid-July, five arms stores and Hashd camps have been bombed in what appeared to be attacks. On two occasions, these factions fired on Kat reconnaissance planes flying over their headquarters.

Leaders in the crowd have blamed the United States for the attacks, but the factions have accused Israel, especially after the latest attack on Sunday, which killed two leaders in Anbar, near the Iraqi-Syrian border in the west.

The Pentagon denied any responsibility for the incident, saying it was cooperating with the investigations being conducted by Iraq. But Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its role.

Asadi told reporters that US involvement remains unclear, easing previous accusations.

“American-backed Israeli planes? We cannot be accused. The United States has given the green light? We cannot be accused.”

However, he noted that the Hashd had been expecting an attack, amid mounting tension between the United States and Iran, since Washington withdrew from the historic nuclear deal with Tehran last year.

The United States has since imposed tough sanctions on senior Iranian officials, energy and economic institutions, as well as a host of Iraqi, Lebanese and Palestinian companies, and people suspected of links to Tehran.

“Is this a surprise to the Iraqi government, to the crowd, to the factions? Surely it is not surprising,” Asadi said. “The issue is clear. Targeting the crowd itself.”

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