Several powerful explosions have rocked a position held by Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units, better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, near a strategic air base north of the capital Baghdad.
The Iraqi Civil Defense Directorate announced in a statement that an ammunition warehouse belonging to the volunteer fighters exploded next to Balad air base, which hosts US forces and contractors and is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, on Tuesday evening.
The statement added that “our teams are trying to bring the situation under control.”
An unnamed security source said thick plumes of black smoke are seen billowing from the site, adding that the circumstances surrounding the incident remain unknown.
However, Fadhil Abu Ragheef, a security expert close to Iraqi intelligence services, said the arms depot of Hashd al-Sha’abi forces had been specifically targeted.