NYT: “Israel” Carried Out Airstrikes in Iraq
By Staff, Agencies
The New York Times reported, citing senior US officials that the “Israeli” entity carried out "several strikes in recent days" in Iraq, after “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible “Israeli” involvement in the latest attacks against what it said were Iranian-linked targets in the country.
The Friday report also quoted a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official, who said that the “Israeli” entity was specifically responsible for a July 19 attack north of Baghdad. The strike, according to the same official, destroyed guided missiles with a range of 200 kilometers.
According to the official, the attack was launched from within Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to Iraqi groups. The groups blamed the United States and “Israel” for the blasts on Wednesday.
In an interview with Russian-language “Israeli” television Channel 9, broadcast on Thursday, Netanyahu was asked whether the entity would operate against Iranian targets in Iraq if needed, he said: "We are operating – not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us. Of course I gave the security forces a free hand and instructed them to do anything necessary to thwart Iran's plans."
Netanyahu did not directly name Iraq as one of those areas.
A senior US official quoted by the New York Times on Friday said the entity was "pushing the limits" with strikes in Iraq, risking "getting the United States military removed from Iraq."
The “Israeli” entity says it has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, some of them against Iranian targets, to prevent Teheran from establishing a permanent military presence there and to stop advanced weapons reaching its proxies in the area.
“Israeli” officials suggested recently they viewed Iraq, whose main ally is Iran, as more of a threat than in recent years, but have not directly commented on the recent blasts at Popular Mobilization Forces [PMF] sites in Iraq.
On Wednesday, the PMF said the United States had allowed four “Israeli” drones to enter the region accompanying US forces and carry out missions on Iraqi territory.
The Pentagon denied involvement. The US-led coalition, in Iraq to fight remnants of the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] group, dismissed the statement.
As tensions between Washington and Tehran increase, Iraq finds itself caught between neighboring Iran, whose regional influence has grown in recent years, and the United States.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi last week ordered all ammunition dumps belonging to the armed forces or paramilitary groups to be moved outside of cities.
He also cancelled all special flight permissions for Iraqi and foreign aircraft, meaning that sorties, including by the US-led coalition operating against Daesh militants, must be cleared in advance by the prime minister.