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Explosion at PMF site near Hit causes indirect fire impacts in surrounding areas

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On the late evening of 9 September, an explosion was reported at a Sunni PMF weapons storage building in the Mamura area, located west of Hit city. Secondary explosions subsequently affected mortar caches and other indirect fire assets, with projectiles impacting areas of Hit city. No casualties were reported. Accidental detonations affecting ammunition depots are commonly noted on a national basis, particularly during the warmer months of the year. The majority are the result of poor storage conditions and increased summer temperatures. However, the 9 September incident occurred amongst a series of suspected Israeli airstrikes against multiple PMF sites in Iraq in July and August. More recently, a suspected Israeli airstrike targeted a prominent Iranian proxy in eastern Syria near the Iraq border on the early morning of 9 September.

Accordingly, it was not surprising that similar accusations were promoted in conjunction with the 9 September detonation in Hit district. Several unnamed sources stated that the detonation was the result of an airstrike conducted by an unidentified UAV. Israeli news outlets were also swift to cite possible hostile action. However, Hit Council Chairman Mohammed al-Mohammadi denied reports citing an airstrike, adding that the explosion was the result of an electrical fault which sparked a fire inside the building. Anbar Provincial Council member Karim Hilal also denied reports citing the explosion was the result of an airstrike, adding that an investigative committee from the PMF arrived at the scene to assess the damage and circumstances surrounding the incident.

Based on initial reporting indicators including images of the affected building, it is assessed that the 9 September incident was more likely the result of an inadvertent explosion as opposed to an airstrike. Indeed, this latest incident affected a storage site associated with a local Sunni tribal militia and not an Iranian-backed Shi’a militia. Pending further confirmation of accidental conditions, this incident underscores the potential for controversy surrounding routine accidental detonations in the aftermath of the suspected Israeli airstrikes against Iranian proxies in Syria and Iraq.

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