A series of blasts shook Baghdad after a fire broke out at a militia arms depot, setting off a large stockpile of munitions – and reportedly sending some off into random directions to injure over a dozen people, mostly children.
Reported by Iraqi media on Monday evening, local time, the explosions sent shrapnel and debris into the areas surrounding the neighborhood of Dora, Baghdad, located only about 5 miles (8km) away from the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy and other diplomatic buildings.
While the blasts are not thought to have caused any fatalities, 14 people were reported injured in the blast, most of them children, according to Reuters. Many of the injured are said to have already been cleared to leave the hospital.
“An explosion occurred because of the piling up of munitions inside the Saqr military base in southern Baghdad,” Iraq’s Baghdad Operations Command, a joint military-police force, wrote on its Facebook page.
A police source also told Reuters the accident likely resulted from “negligence” in storing the munitions at the facility, which were thought to include Katyusha rockets.
Al Hurra News correspondent Steven Nabil released photos and video footage of the aftermath of the blasts, in which a huge column of smoke could be seen billowing into the sky.
The blast comes amid reports of stepped-up Israeli strikes within Iraqi territory, mostly targeting Iran-backed militia groups, known as ‘Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMFs). While Israeli airstrikes on similar forces have been relatively common in Syria, the country has not admitted to strikes on Iraq since the 1981 strike on a nuclear reactor near Baghdad, which was dubbed ‘Operation Opera’.
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