MIDDLE EAST

Suspicious Iranian links to blast in Iraq’s Karbala, sources say

Iraqi Federal police patrol as Shiite pilgrims march to Karbala for the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (AP)

The blast that killed three people and injured 15 others on Friday in the Iraqi city of Karbala was linked to Iran link, sources told Al Arabiya.

“After the explosion and during the investigation and inspection on Friday night, the Iraqi intelligence forces arrested five Iranians who had explosives and remote control devices at the area near the blast site, in the eastern Abbasid,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

“The security forces transferred the Iranian detainees to the Karbala intelligence headquarters for interrogation,” the source said. “But minutes later dozens of Brigade Ali Akbar and Badr Organization militias supported by Iran surrounded the headquarters of the intelligence of Karbala.”

The source said the militias demanded the release of the five Iranian detainees but their request was rejected by the head of intelligence, who emphasized that he will hand them back only to authorities in Baghdad.

The refusal led the armed militias to break into the intelligence headquarters, where they took the five detainees and the head of the intelligence department.

The militias released the head of the internal intelligence department at dawn on Saturday at about 4:30 am, but the fate of the five Iranians is still unknown, raising doubts about the involvement of Iran in the Karbala bombing.

There was a media blackout about the explosion of Karbala in general, except for the Iranian media, which was quick to emphasize that the attack was far from where Iranian nationals were present.

Analysts believe that the coinciding of the Karbala blast days after Tehran’s armed attacks on parliament and Khomeini’s shrine is not arbitrary. Observers have stressed the likelihood of these events being fabricated by the Iranian regime to show itself as a victim of terrorism.

Arab powers including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed ties with Qatar because of Doha’s support for terrorist groups. Qatar has sent millions of dollars to Iran-backed Iraqi militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 KSA 03:42 - GMT 00:42
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