Explosion hits southern Baghdad weapons depot, blamed on heat

Explosion hits southern Baghdad weapons depot, blamed on heat
Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq have been targeted by Israeli airstrikes in the past. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 26 July 2020

Explosion hits southern Baghdad weapons depot, blamed on heat

Explosion hits southern Baghdad weapons depot, blamed on heat
  • The base is used as an ammunition depot by Iraqi police and paramilitary groups.

BAGHDAD: A weapons depot belonging to Iraq’s federal police force exploded on Sunday in Baghdad’s southern suburbs because of high summer temperatures and poor storage, the military said in a statement.
Multiple explosions could be heard in Baghdad on Sunday evening. Security sources said the depot, which is part of a military base used by both the police and paramilitary forces, was one that had caught fire in August last year.
That fire also set off explosions heard across Baghdad, killing one person and injuring 29 others. There were no casualties reported immediately on Sunday.
Iraqi paramilitary groups with links to Iran last year blamed a series of blasts at their weapons depots and bases on the United States and Israel as tension escalated between Washington and Tehran.
The US killing of Iran’s military mastermind Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a missile strike in Baghdad in January raised the threat that Iraq could become a battlefield in a conflict between Washington and Tehran. 


Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Updated 44 min 11 sec ago

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups
  • Djalali was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage
  • Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence

DUBAI: Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, may face imminent execution, rights groups said on Tuesday.
"On 1 December, a judge said Ahmadreza was to be transferred to Rajai Shahr prison TODAY to proceed with his imminent execution," Amnesty International said on Twitter.
"His lawyer was informed that Ahmadreza would be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison ... today (Tuesday, Dec. 1)," Iran Human Rights said in a statement, quoting his wife Vida Mehrannia.
There was no official Iranian reaction to the reports.
Sweden's foreign minister said last week she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart after reports Iran may soon carry out Djalali's death sentence.
Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage, having been accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists. Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence.
Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting a number of dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries. Tehran has regularly dismissed the accusation. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)