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Iraq looks to obtain anti-aircraft missile defense system: National Security Council

Following explosions at PMF facilities
Iraqi Air Force helicopters participate in a flypast ceremony marking the Iraqi Army's 91st anniversary in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in this January 6, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Saad Shalash/Files
2019-08-24

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SULAIMANI — The Iraqi National Security Council has directed the ministry of defense to develop plans to procure an anti-aircraft missile defense system and empower the Iraqi Air Force to defend the country's airspace.

In recent weeks, several explosions have occurred at facilities belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces across central Iraq. While they have officially been explained as accidents caused by summer heat, poor storage, and negligence, rumors have swirled about Israeli involvement with senior Iraqi officials blaming the country and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doing little to tamp down speculation.

Tellingly, however, no physical evidence of airstrikes or of Israeli involvement have been produced by the PMF or the Iraqi government so far.

Nevertheless, Iraqi officials have demanded action.

The Council said in a statement on Friday (August 23) that the PMF were paying an important role in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and that the government needed to protect its brigades from any outside threat.

Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi presided over the Council's meeting and reiterated his directive that any flights by foreign military aircraft in Iraqi airspace required approval from his office.

(NRT Digital Media)