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US-Led Coalition In Iraq Denies It Conducted A New Airstrike On Pro-Iran Militia

Iraqi Army's 53rd Brigade participate in a live ammunition training exercise with coalition forces trainers at Taji military base north of Baghdad, August 9, 2017

Iraq’s pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi militia claimed early Saturday that an air attack hit one of its convoys north of Baghdad near Taji military base.

The news came as Iran and its allies were preparing a show-funeral of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general killed early on January 3 by a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport.

Following the targeted killing, U.S. allies and many governments urged restraint and the news of a new strike was unexpected.

The Hashed did not say who it held responsible but Iraqi state television reported it was a U.S. air strike.

Soon after the claim by the Iraqi militia, a spokesman for the Western coalition in Iraq led by the United States denied its forces were involved in any new strikes.

Col. Myles B. Caggins tweeted, “The Coalition did NOT conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji in recent days”.

The military base has served as a facility by the U.S.-led coalition to train Iraqi army and police units.

Some Iraqi TV stations had reported that Hashed al-Shaabi’s Imam Ali units were targeted and one of its commanders was killed. However, the militia group denied this.

In recent months several air attacks have hit pro-Iran militia targets in Iraq. Some reports have indicated Israel was behind the attacks and Israeli officials have indicated they consider pro-Iran forces as legitimate targets.

With reporting by AFP