ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi leader of the National Coalition, Ayad Allawi, stated Israeli intelligence provided the US with pictures of ballistic missile launchers directed at Gulf states and Israel in Gaza, Syria, and Iraq’s southern province of Basra.
Allawi’s comments were delivered in an interview with Iraqi al-Sharqiya TV on Tuesday.
The Iraqi leader claimed he met with an American official in Jordan, where the envoy told him the presence of those missile launchers was the reason the US sent Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo to Baghdad and canceled his visit to Germany. Indeed, according to Allawi, he was to “investigate the missile case and talk to top Iraqi officials about the situation.”
Allawi said officials from Washington DC “assured him” that Israeli intelligence services were “closely monitoring Iranian ballistic missile systems” not only via satellite but also with “advanced ground systems for imaging and surveillance.”
He reported that senior US intelligence officials had told him Israeli intelligence services were using “advanced ground systems to photograph and track Iranian ballistic missile systems in the province of Basra.”
Allawi also claimed the images he saw of the missile launchers were taken on the ground, “not from satellites,” seemimgly staring Israeli agents were on Iraqi soil.
Allawi, heads the National Coalition, known as al-Wataniya, which holds 21 seats in the 329-seat parliament of Iraq after May 2018 elections. He served as interim Prime Minister of Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was the President of the Governing Council of Iraq in 2003.
He also served as Vice-President of Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and then again from Oct. 2016 to late 2018.
There have been no comments from the Iraqi federal government following Allawi’s television appearance.
However, Salah al-Bardawil, member of Hamas’ political bureau, tool to Twitter to criticize Allawi’s comments, accusing him of “echoing what a Zionist director told him.”
This comes as tensions mount between the US and Iran since Trump re-imposed sanctions on Tehran last year.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate-general in Erbil, as well as the suspension of normal visa services.
The German and Dutch Defense Ministries on Wednesday said they had temporarily paused their training missions in Iraq, which also includes troops that train Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region.
However, German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said the training could resume within a few days, as there is no concrete threat, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Editing by Nadia Riva