CENTCOM denies US behind Iraq air strike



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US Central Command (CENTCOM) is refuting reports claiming the U.S. conducted airstrikes in Iraq following a blast at a military base in the country that killed a member of an Iraqi security force. 

“We are aware of reports claiming that the United States conducted airstrikes in Iraq today,” CENCTOM said in a Friday night post on the social media platform X. “Those reports are not true. The United States has not conducted air strikes in Iraq today.” 

A blast at Kalso military base, around 30 miles south of Iraq’s capital city Baghdad, in early hours on Saturday local time, killed one member of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and left eight wounded, according to Reuters. 

A technical committee of the Iraqi military said it was investigating the cause of the explosion, with the force commander referring to it as an attack, according to Reuters. The army said it is doing a probe into the incident. 

“The air defence command report confirmed, through technical efforts and radar detection, that there was no drone or fighter jet in the air space of Babil before and during the explosion,” the Iraqi military said in a statement, according to Reuters. 

Two security sources said prior that an airstrike caused the explosion at the base, per Reuters. 

The military base housed pro-Iranian militia. The PMF contains Iran-backed groups that have advanced Iran’s interest in the Middle East. 

The blast comes just days following Israel’s early Friday strike on Iran, which followed Tehran’s missile and drone assault on the country on April 13, which Iran said was in retaliation for Israel’s airstrike in early April on the Iranian Consulate in Syria, which left several IRGC officers dead.

The Hill has reached out to CENCTOM for further comment.

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