Iraq: Explosion rocks militia's weapons depot near Baghdad

Iraq: Explosion rocks militia's weapons depot near Baghdad
The weapons depot belongs to the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militia, a Shia group which is part of the Popular Mobilisation Forces network.
2 min read
06 September, 2022
News outlets connected to Iraqi militant factions said the incident was an accident [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty-file photo]

An explosion rocked an Iraqi militia group's base near Baghdad on Monday, according to security sources.

While the nature of the incident is unknown, it is the fourth explosion of its kind in under a month, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported.

"An explosion occurred and a fire broke out in a warehouse of equipment and missiles belonging to the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militia in the Al-Suwaira area in Wasit province," Iraqi media quoted security sources as saying.

"The explosion's nature and causes have not yet been determined. It caused flames and columns of smoke which covered the sky above."

Asaib Ahl Al-Haq is an Iran-backed Shia group that belongs to the Popular Mobilisation Forces – a network of militias that have been brought into Iraq's state security apparatus.

An Iraqi Civil Defence force helped put the fire out hours after it began inside the warehouse, which contains large quantities of weapons and equipment.

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News outlets connected to militant factions said the incident was an accident and there were no casualties.

Sabreen News said on Telegram that the incident was "caused by a fire in one of the underground weapon and equipment stores – a concrete warehouse belonging to the Popular Mobilisation".

The fire "erupted due to the heat", Sabreen reported, adding that PMF forces "accompanied by the Civil Defence intervened and brought the fire under control".

A Wasit province police officer said: "The security services were unable to reach the base and verify the causes of the explosion.

"The incident caused a state of terror among the people of the residential area surrounding the camp."

He added that armed factions stop security services entering bases to investigate causes, saying these are "often not accidental".

There was no official statement from Iraqi security.

It comes after three other explosions at bases belonging to other militias in under a month.

This includes one explosion at a weapons depot belonging to the Peace Companies group in Najaf province which caused two deaths and five injuries.

The Peace Companies are affiliated with Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who has recently been in conflict with pro-Iran Shia factions such as Asaib Ahl Al-Haq.