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Sun. May 26th, 2024

The US military has disclosed plan to investigate a militant claim by a newly formed Iraqi militant group of a bombing at the Iraq-Kuwait border.

While disclosing this on Tuesday August 11, 2020, the US military stated that a group, called Ashab al-Kahf, issued a statement overnight claiming it destroyed “equipment and vehicles belonging to the American enemy” in a bombing targeting a border crossing south of the Iraqi city of Basra.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant groups, the group later published an 11-second video clip where it showed the blast.

The unverified video displayed what looked like an explosion and lights in the distance, with a man speaking in Arabic.

The US Army Maj. John Rigsbee, a Central Command spokesman, said the American military was looking into reports of the explosion.

The Iraqi military issued a statement early Tuesday through the state-run Iraqi News Agency, denying an attack took place.

The Kuwaiti military in statement carried by the state-run KUNA news agency similarly said it “denied reports about a sabotage attack on a northern border post.” The statement did not elaborate.

Vehicles are regularly loaded with military equipment at the Jraischan crossing, three Iraqi security forces told Reuters, and the cargo is usually loaded or unloaded before entering or exiting Iraq.

Foreign companies are contracted by US forces to provide security in the area, the Iraqi security sources said.

Kuwait hosts some 13,500 American troops, many at Camp Arifjan south of Kuwait City, which is also home to the forward command of US Army Central.

American troops and contractors sometimes travel by road with equipment and supplies between the two countries.

Ashab al-Kahf means “Companions of the Cave” in Arabic, referring to a Christian and Islamic story about youth escaping religious persecution hiding in a cave for hundreds of years.

The group has emerged alongside renewed threats by pro-Iran militias amid rising tensions between the Washington and Tehran.

In January, an American drone strike killed top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad. Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack that wounded dozens of American troops at a military base in Iraq.

The SITE Intelligence Group has referred to Ashab al-Kahf as “reportedly an Iranian proxy unit.” The group initially threatened US forces in April and claimed an attack on a convoy in July.

Later on Tuesday, the Iraqi military announced that a blast from a planted explosive device hit a convoy of the US-led coalition near the Taji base north of Baghdad.

The explosion caused a fire to a container on one of the vehicles but the military did not report any casualties. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

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