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Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi downs spy drone

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows an Israeli Heron TP surveillance drone flying during a presentation at the Tel Nof Air Force base, south of Tel Aviv. (By AFP)

Forces from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq have shot down a spy drone in the country’s northern Province of Nineveh.

The al-Sumaria television reported on Sunday that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was targeted by the air defenses of the 50th Brigade of Hashd al-Sha’abi while it was approaching PMU bases in Nineveh.

It was not immediately clear who was operating the drone.

The Iraqi forces had shot down another spy drone on Thursday as it was flying in the vicinity of the 12th Brigade of Hashd al-Sha’abi and over the outskirts of the capital, Baghdad.

Last week, a number of powerful blasts rocked a position held by the PMU, next to the strategic Balad airbase, which hosts US forces and contractors and which is located about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Hashd al-Sha’abi commanders confirmed that the intended target of the attack was the group’s position near the Balad base.

Hashd al-Sha’abi forces 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.

Some Iraqi officials have said the strikes were conducted by the Israeli regime.

Earlier, senior Iraqi cleric Ammar al-Hakim called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to adopt effective measures to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of strong indications that the US and Israel were involved in the series of recent attacks on PMU positions.

Two PMU fighters killed in drone strikes near Syria border

Later in the day, Iraqi popular forces issued a statement, saying that two of their fighters, including a field commander, were killed in strikes by an unidentified drone close to the Syrian border in Anbar Province.

According to Almayadeen news website, the statement added that the strike, which targeted the PMU’s 45th brigade, took place 15 km (9 miles) from the border.

An unspecified number of PMU fighters were also injured in the attack.

Reuters quoted a security source as saying that there were two air strikes. One struck the local headquarters of the brigade while the other struck a convoy of cars leaving the building.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

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