Football baseball basketball soccer hockey Head of Iran-backed militia in Iraq walks back US accusation

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The Associated Press

FILE – In this Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 file photo, plumes of smoke rise after an explosion at a military base southwest of Baghdad, Iraq. A fact-finding committee appointed by the Iraqi government to investigate a massive munitions depot explosion near the capital Baghdad has concluded that the blast was the result of a drone strike. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Loay Hameed, File)

The head of Iraq’s paramilitary Shiite forces, supported by Iran, appears to be walking back a statement made by his deputy who blamed Israeli drones and said the U.S. was responsible for a series of attacks on bases run by the militia.

Faleh al-Fayyadh said on Thursday that the statement by his deputy, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, didn’t represent the view of the mainly Shiite paramilitary group known as Popular Mobilization Forces — or that of the Iraqi Government.

Al-Fayyadh’s statement alleges the attacks on the bases over the past weeks “were the result of an act organized by a foreign side,” without naming that side.

The statement highlights divisions within the Popular Mobilization Forces, which is mostly run by the deputy, al-Muhandis, a military commander known for his anti-American sentiments.

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