ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An unmanned drone of unknown origin bombed the base of an Iran-backed paramilitary group early Friday in Iraq’s Salahuddin province, reportedly injuring a number of fighters and causing damage to an ammunition depot.
The attack took place at the al-Shohada military camp of the Turkmen Brigades, part of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militias, said the Security Media Cell in a statement. The base is located near the town of Amerli in eastern Salahuddin.
According to the statement, the drone dropped grenades on the camp, injuring two individuals. Quoting security sources, Iraqi media reported at least one person being killed and the ammunition depot also being struck.
No group or nation has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Saudi Arabian-based news agency alleged the United States military had struck the base. In a tweet, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition said, "We are aware of the reports of an attack against the Iranians and a Popular Mobilization Force unit in Salah ad Din. Coalition Forces were not involved, and we have no further information at this time."
We are aware of the reports of an attack against the Iranians and a Popular Mobilization Force unit in Salah ad Din. Coalition Forces were not involved, and we have no further information at this time.— OIR Spokesperson (@OIRSpox) July 19, 2019
Local media also suggested that a ranking member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) currently resides at the base as part of a program to train the militia members but was not present at the time of the attack because he had recently gone home to Iran for a visit.
The incident comes amid an increasingly tense standoff between the US and Iran. Tehran last month shot down a US surveillance drone in the Gulf of Oman, claiming that the plane had breached its airspace and did not respond to multiple warnings. Washington disputes this and insists the aircraft was flying over international waters at the time.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said that the US navy had destroyed an Iranian drone after it got too close to one of its warships in the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran later dismissed Trump’s statement and claimed all its drones were safe and accounted for.
Editing by John J. Catherine