US surveillance drone crashes in Iraq

An American surveillance drone crashed Northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, according to reports in Middle East news agencies.

Burath news agency cited informed sources on Friday saying that the drone, registered under the number “52187”, had probably crashed due to hacking or electronic jamming from an “unknown source”.

The report added that the aircraft, which had fallen in a farming area, appeared undamaged, and Iraqi authorities later transported the drone to an unspecified location.

The report comes nearly a month after Iraqi sources stated that “unidentified drones” had attacked a base belonging to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) in Salahudin Province, killing one PMU member and injuring another four. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi later ordered an investigation into the incident.

Later, Al-Ahd news website cited informed security sources saying that the Hashd al-Shaabi positions were targeted by three Israeli Harop missiles fired from Israeli F-16 aircraft which had infiltrated the southeastern province of Anbar. Western diplomats speaking to the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat daily also confirmed the Israeli attack but attributed the assault to an Israeli F-35.

The attack on the Hashd al-Sha’abi base comes as the United States has sought to pressure Baghdad against the PMU. Also, Israeli military authorities had previously threatened to attack the anti-terrorist force.

The PMU, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, formed and joined forces with the Iraqi military in 2014 after the Daesh Takfiri terror group launched a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against the nation.

Washington, along with Tel Aviv, have often labeled Iraqi units operating under the PMU organization as being “Iran-led terrorists groups”. Iraqis have, nonetheless, sharply rejected the hostile stance against Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, describing it as a violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty.