BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – The popular Hashd Sha’abi forces on Wednesday said that they opened fire on unknown drones while flying above one of its headquarters in Iraq's central province of Salahudin.
The drones flied on Wednesday morning above Hashd Sha’abi's 35th Brigade in Salahudin province, prompting the Hashd Sha’abi's anti-aircraft weapons to open fire on them and forced the drones to withdraw to unknown destination, Qahttan al-Bawi, head of Salahudin's Hashd Sha’abi intelligence, said in a statement.
In has not immediately identified who sent the drones.
During the past weeks, several similar incidents took place in Hashd Sha’abi depots in central and western Iraq. The incidents were mainly believed to be attributed to attacks by unknown aircraft.
The repeated explosions on Hashd Sha’abi arms depots pushed the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is also commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, to order in mid-August that all military flights, including reconnaissance aircraft, are prohibited from using the Iraqi airspace without his permission.
A senior Iraqi legislator revealed that the U.S. has informed the country's government that the Zionist regime’s drones have participated in a number of offensives against the positions of Hashd al-Sha’abi popular forces.
Abdolkhaliq al-Azawi, a member of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Committee, was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Nahrain news website as saying that the Iraqi government's fact-finding committee has ended its investigations into the cause of the explosions in Hashd al-Sha’abi positions and arms caches.
"It came to be known that 12 attacks were launched, using drones," he added.
According to al-Azawi, the U.S. which is responsible to protect Iraq's airspace has informed the Iraqi government that the attacks have been launched by the Israeli drones.
Late in August, Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi forces in a statement announced that Israeli drones backed by the US aircraft pounded their positions near the border with Syria.
The Hashd al-Shaabi in a statement reported that two Israeli drones struck its military positions in Akashat-Alqaem Road in al-Anbar province 15 kilometers from the border with Syria.
The statement noted that the attack had taken place with the aerial support of the US and monitoring of a huge surveillance balloon near the site of the attack, and said that the attack took place with the start of the Phase 4 of Eradeh al-Nasr (the Will of Victory) military operation jointly conducted by the Iraqi Army, Police Force and Hashd al-Shaabi against the ISIL remnants in the Western part of the country.
It noted that a Hashd al-Sha’abi member was killed and another was wounded in the Israeli drone attacks.
Meantime, Hashd al-Shaabi commander Hadi al-Jazayeri told al-Ma'aloumeh news website that the continued drone attacks on Hashd al-Shaabi’s military positions would be given a harsh response by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces as already warned by his deputy Abu al-Mahdi al-Mohandes.
Fighters of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) paramilitaries prepare defensive positions near the frontline village of Ayn al-Hisan, on the outskirts of Tal Afar west of Mosul, on February 18, 2017.