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Explosions Wound Three at Iran-Backed Militia Base in Iraq, Local Official Reports

At least three individuals were injured following a series of explosions at a military base operated by the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq, according to a security official. The incident occurred south of Baghdad in the Babylon Governorate, as confirmed by Muhannad al-Anazi, a member of the region’s Security Committee.

The explosions took place on Saturday, with the cause yet to be determined. Following recent regional tensions and a military strike on Iran attributed to Israel, officials from both Israel and the United States have denied involvement in these latest blasts.

The PMU, a Shiite paramilitary force with close ties to both the Iraqi government and Iran, confirmed the explosions occurred at the Kalsu military base located in the Al-Mashrou district. The site sustained material damage, and investigations are ongoing. The PMU has promised to disclose further details upon completion of the preliminary investigations.

This incident contributes to the heightened tensions in the Middle East, especially as Israel continues its military actions against Hamas in Gaza following a deadly incursion by the Iran-backed group into southern Israel in October.

The broader context includes an escalating series of strikes this month, marking a more overt phase in the longstanding covert conflict between Israel and Iran. Despite speculation, the origins of the Friday attack on Iran remain unconfirmed by both Israeli and Iranian officials, with no significant damage reported.

In response to rumors of U.S. involvement in the Iraq explosions, U.S. Central Command clarified on social media that no airstrikes were conducted by the United States in Iraq on that day.

The PMU, recognized by the Iraqi parliament in 2016 as an official part of the country’s military framework, comprises various groups including the powerful Kataib Hezbollah. This formal recognition integrates the PMU into the national defense strategy, although its affiliations and operations continue to be a subject of regional and international scrutiny.

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