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Interior Ministry and JOC of Iraq states Camp Taji incidents were not launched by US

By | Rachel Brooks

Contributor | Telegraph Local 

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The saga of the US and Iran hostilities continues. Haaretz reports that “overseas Black Ops units” now await Iran’s signal to strike back at the US. Tensions are high and misinformation is running rampant. 

This following an Iraqi state television program reports that the United States launched an airstrike early Saturday, January 4, 2020, that targeted an Iraqi medic convoy north of Baghdad. This reported airstrike was almost precisely 24 hours after the airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Forces, and al-Muhandis the founder of Hezbollah. US sources have denied US responsibility for this individual attack. The Iraqi military denies that the attack took place at all. So, why has it come to the surface at all? Has there been an incident at Taji Road and who is behind it? 

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Propaganda will be a major tool of this conflict moving forward. The story was circulated around the world before news outlets such as Haaretz and Al Jazeera followed with the fact-checked story. As Al Jazeera states, the early reports that a medical convoy belonging to PMF, or Hashed al-Shaabi on Taji Road, Iraq has been denied by the Iraqi military. 

Al Jazeera also reports that the US-led coalition fighting the ISIL (ISIS) group said on Saturday, January 4, 2020, that they did not conduct an airstrike near Camp Taji. 

The PMF, Hashed al-Shaabi, issued an official statement that no medical convoys were targeted in Taji. 

This is a follow-up confirming that what Iraqi sources presented to Reuters is not factual, or may only be partially factual. What is going on near Taji Road? Was there an actual violent incident? It is difficult to know for certain as the events continue to unfold between the US and Iran’s militarized tensions in Iraq and elsewhere. 

What do we know as fact? Taji Road is a critical region that leads to a base that belongs to non-US coalition forces. This includes British and Italian forces. This citing Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from  Baghdad.

We know from Telegraph UK that an exchange of missile fire has targeted Baghdad. General Qassem Soleimani’s body was paraded through Baghdad in an impressive funeral procession. On Saturday night, a Katsuya rocket struck within the Green Zone. It touched down close to the American mission in Baghdad. It was followed by two rockets 40 miles away on the al-Balad airbase. al-Balad houses US Air Force trainers. Three Iraqi military personnel were reported to have been injured in the second assault.  

So, from the reports made by Telegraph UK, we know that airstrikes have been going on in the region over the last 48 hours. We know that the US and Iraq deny responsibility for the state-reported Taji Road incident. Xinhua News, quoted by Eastern Mirror, stated that “the coalition did not conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji in recent days.” The Iraqi Joint Operations Command denied the media reports of the attack. Another JOC source stated,

“What was reported by some media about an airstrike targeting a medical convoy of the Hashd al-Shaabi in the Taji area is not true.” 

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We know that it is a possibility there was an incident and crossfire injuries or damages in the vicinity of Taji Road, but they were not attributed to a deliberate US attack. An Iraqi Interior Ministry source told Xinhua that an attack against the Hashd Shaabi convoy did take place before dawn in Taji. That two people were killed and four others were wounded. The perpetrator of this attack was not known. The Hashd al-Shaabi issued a statement that none of its leaders were killed in the attack. Hashd al-Shaabi forces were allegedly hit by an airstrike near a stadium in Taji, which is approximately 15km north of Baghdad. It is a possibility that if an incident has occurred in this region, there is a miscommunication between the Interior Ministry and the JOC. At this point, 

Telegraph Local is working to confirm the sources that stated a violent incident has occurred at all.  

This is a developing story. Continue to check back to Telegraph Local for follow-ups and further fact-checks of all ensuing incidents of the US-Iran tensions.

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