Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has ordered a probe into an attack by an unmanned aircraft on a base belonging to fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, in Salahuddin Province.
Abdul-Mahdi, also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, issued a directive “to form a fact-finding committee composed of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), representatives of the Air Force Command, Air Defense Command and Hashd al-Sha’abi to investigate what really happened at Martyrs Camp.”
Arabic-language al-Ahad TV television network reported on Friday that a drone had dropped explosives onto the base near the town of Amerli, located about 170 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, in the early hours of the day, killing at last one PMU fighter and injuring four others.
Video footage broadcast by Iraqi channels showed a blaze burning at the site and plumes of thick smoke billowing. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Moreover, the Iraqi al-Etejah television network reported that an American B350 reconnaissance plane had flown over the area a few days earlier.
Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.
Iraq has repeatedly condemned allegations of sectarian nature against the voluntary force.
The Iraqi parliament on November 26, 2016 approved a law giving full legal status to Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters.
It recognized the PMU as part of the national armed forces, placed the volunteer fighters under the command of the prime minister, and granted them the right to receive salaries and pensions like the regular army and police forces.
Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against the terrorist group.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.