BAGHDAD: A series of explosions in an arms depot in the southern suburbs of Baghdad was deliberate, and not the result of an accident or negligence, a senior national security official told Arab News on Tuesday.
One civilian died and 37 were injured in the blasts on Monday night at the Falcon weapons store, when arms belonging to the pro-Iran Kata’ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada armed group exploded, leading to the launch of short-range Katyusha rockets in all directions.
The blasts caused panic in areas south of Baghdad, where dozens of families took to the streets in fear.
Civil Defense teams evacuated nearby areas and Baghdad military command cut off the main road between Baghdad and the southern provinces.
Troops in the capital were on high alert until the early hours of Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited the scene on Tuesday morning and ordered an investigation.
Preliminary results confirmed that the bombing “was deliberate” and “was not a result of negligence,” a senior national security official told Arab News.
“Preliminary information indicates that the bombing was planned and carried out by an external act,” the official said.
“It is too early to say how the bombing was carried out, but the drones hypothesis is currently excluded.”
A federal police officer told Arab News the commanders of the pro-Iran armed factions “insist on repeating the same story, that a drone struck the warehouse with a missile, but they have nothing to support this theory. Aerial photographs and radar showed nothing.”
Monday’s explosion is the 16th of its kind in less than three years, targeting stocks of military equipment mostly belonging to pro-Iran Shiite armed factions deployed across the country.
“I can say for sure, we expect more of these bombings in the future,” the officer said.