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Fire And Blasts At Iran-Backed Militia Depot In Iraq


File - Members of Iraqi Shiite group known as Hashd al-Shaabi (The Popular Crowd) patrol an area in Tuz, southern Kirkuk city, Iraq, 17 October 2017

For a second time in less than a month, Iran-backed militias in Iraq have sustained losses at their bases, as fire broke out Monday at a weapons depot causing explosions on the outskirts of Baghdad.

In July, it was reported that a drone dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-linked Shi'ite paramilitary groups in northern Iraq, killing at least one person. Later, Israeli sources hinted at a targeted operation by the Jewish state to disrupt Iran’s presence in neighboring countries.

In Monday’s incident one person was killed and 29 injured, as people across Baghdad heard the explosion and were hit by shrapnel from exploding ordinance.

The depot, run by a militia group under the umbrella of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, was located inside a federal police base in the southern suburbs of Baghdad.

The facility stored short-range and Katyusha rockets, a security source told Reuters.

The fire set off some of the rockets which struck neighborhoods several kilometers away and injuring mainly children, said Qasim al-Attabi, a spokesman for the district's health directorate.

A police source said the fire was probably caused by negligence leading to poor storage conditions and high temperatures. The Interior Ministry ordered an investigation. August temperatures in Iraq can soar to well above 40 degrees C or 100 F.

Reporting by Reuters

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