Sat. May 25th, 2024

An overnight explosion at an Iraqi military base, housing a coalition of pro-Iranian armed groups, resulted in one fatality and eight injuries, officials reported Saturday. The incident occurred at the Kalsu military base in Babylon province, located south of Baghdad, where regular army personnel, police, and members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (Hashed al-Shaabi) are stationed. Despite the passage of hours since the blast, comprehensive details remain elusive.

This development follows closely on the heels of heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. Earlier, Iran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, to which Israel reportedly responded with a drone strike on the Islamic republic. These events unfold against the backdrop of escalating tensions fueled by the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

According to the Iraqi security forces’ media unit, the explosion and subsequent fire struck the Kalsu base during the early hours of Saturday, resulting in one fatality and eight injuries. The air defense command reported no presence of drones or combat aircraft in the airspace of Babylon province before or during the explosion, adding to the mystery surrounding the incident.

Despite the severity of the explosion, no entity has claimed responsibility thus far. Both the US military and the Israeli army have denied involvement. Hashed al-Shaabi acknowledged the explosion, citing material losses and casualties, but refrained from specifying the extent of the damage or casualties.

Hashed al-Shaabi, an integral component of Iraq’s official security apparatus, vowed retaliation against those responsible for the attack. The group’s commander condemned the incident as an “odious crime” and pledged that perpetrators would face consequences. Meanwhile, investigation committees have been dispatched to the site of the explosion to ascertain the details and gather evidence.

In a related development, strikes attributed to Israel targeted a military base near Isfahan in central Iran. The exchange of attacks underscores the volatile nature of the region and raises concerns about the potential for further escalation. Against this backdrop, Iraq’s foreign ministry has expressed profound concern over the situation, warning against actions that could exacerbate tensions and jeopardize regional stability.

Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani’s visit to Washington, where he recently met with US President Joe Biden, underscores the urgency of addressing the escalating tensions in the region and the need for concerted efforts to promote peace and stability.

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