Israel had permission from US and Russia to strike Iranian targets in Iraq, Saudi-owned paper reports


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s alleged bombing of Iranian weapons warehouses in Iraq in recent weeks was carried out with permission from the United States and Russia, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported.

The Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted a Western diplomatic source in an article published Wednesday. According to the source, the understanding stresses that Israel should not officially declare its raids in order to control regional tension. Israeli leaders have hinted recently at involvement in such strikes.

The understanding stipulates that “Israel’s security is a priority as well as pursuing Iran in Iraq and Syria,” the London-based newspaper reported.

The most recent attack came on Tuesday night, when a weapons depot belonging to the state-sanctioned paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces at al-Balad military base in Saladin province was targeted allegedly by Israeli drones.

Israel has struck Iranian targets in Syria in recent months and has been more direct about acknowledging them.

On Wednesday, the Popular Mobilization Forces in a statement said that the group has information that shows the United States has incorporated Israeli drones this year into the U.S. fleet in Iraq fighting the Islamic State and used them to target its positions in Iraq, The Associated Press reported. The group said it holds the United States as responsible for the attacks.

During his visit Monday to Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the rumors that his country is behind the airstrikes.

“Iran has no immunity, anywhere,” he said. Later Netanyahu said “We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary.”

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