The official, who has knowledge of the latest intelligence briefing from Baghdad’s security services, told the Middle East Eye news portal on Tuesday that the attacks were conducted from bases belonging to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-Damascus alliance of mainly Kurdish militants.
“The drone attacks were launched from SDF areas with the financing and backing of the Saudis,” said the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
The latest such drone attacks struck Sunday a convoy of Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi near the Iraqi town of al-Qa’im close to the Syrian border.
It killed Kazem Mohsen, 45th PMU Brigade logistical support chief who was also known by his nom de guerre Abu Ali al-Dabi, and severely wounded another fighter.
The PMU said the United States was providing air support to Israel for the strikes.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iraqi source said the plan to target the PMU was hatched during a visit by Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan to the SDF-held Syrian area in June.
Sabhan, he added, offered funds to the SDF in return for their base being used as a launchpad for the strikes.
The Iraqi official also stressed that northern Syria was used to launch the attacks as Israeli drones do not have the range needed to hit targets in Iraq from the occupied territories.
“Israeli personnel were operating the drones from SDF-controlled bases,” he said.
He further noted that the Iraqis were initially skeptical of Tel Aviv’s role in the attacks because of doubts about the capability of Israeli drones to reach Iraq.
‘Iraqi forces ready to respond to any aggressive move’Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi says Iraqi armed forces are fully prepared to respond to any act of aggression wither from outside or inside the country.
The Israeli attacks began on July 19 when a drone dropped explosives onto a PMU base near the town of Amerli, in Salahuddin Province, killing at least one resistance fighter and injuring four others.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday at possible Israeli strikes in Iraq.