Iraq paramilitary: Israel behind drone attack near Syria border

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The Hashd al-Shaabi forces said unidentified drones targeted a Brigade 45 position 15 kilometres from the Iraqi-Syrian border [File: Essam al-Sudani/Reuters]

Iraq’s powerful Hashd al-Shaabi force, or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), has blamed Israel for carrying out a deadly drone attack on Sunday close to the border with Syria.

“As part of the string of Zionist attacks on Iraq, the evil Israeli crows have returned to target the Hashd al-Shaabi, this time with two drones inside Iraqi territory,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

It said one fighter was killed and another heavily wounded, revising an earlier toll of two dead. 

“This blatant attack came with air cover over the area from American planes, in addition to a large balloon to monitor the area near the site of the incident,” the statement added.

It is the first such statement from the group blaming Tel Aviv after several of the paramilitary force’s bases have been hit by suspicious blasts.

The leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani, tweeted a poster of himself with the words “These insane operations will surely be the Zionist regime’s last steps”.