In a statement issued Wednesday, the deputy head of the militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, says the group has accurate information that shows the USA brought in four Israeli drones this year to work as part of the US fleet in Iraq and target militia positions in Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, following last week's blast, ordered all ammunition dumps belonging to the armed forces or paramilitary groups to be moved outside of cities.
The rare and combative statement by the state-sanctioned militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, came in the wake of at least three mysterious explosions at PMF bases around Iraq over the past month.
Israel has not confirmed or denied responsibility for the attacks, but during a visit to Ukraine this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to hint at Israeli involvement, responding to a reporter's question about whether it was behind the explosions by saying that "Iran has no immunity, anywhere".
The PMF warned it would consider any foreign aircraft flying over its bases without Iraqi government authorization to be "hostile aircraft that will be dealt with accordingly".
"We will act - and are now acting - against [Iran] wherever it is necessary", Mr. Netanyahu told Israeli reporters on a visit to Ukraine. Israel has reportedly been behind bombings against Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria. Israel has not struck Iraq since a 1981 mission to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor constructed by former president Saddam Hussein.
An American official, however, said the U.S. had no evidence or credible intelligence that Israel was behind the two most recent blasts. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the issue.
On Wednesday, the paramilitary group said in a statement it had carried out its own investigation and pointed the finger at the USA military, but also accused Israel of infringing Iraqi airspace.
The US-led coalition, in Iraq to fight remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, dismissed the statement.
At the same time, Iraq hosts American troops and forces belonging to the USA coalition fighting IS, which conduct frequent reconnaissance missions and occasional airstrikes. An Aug. 12 airstrike targeted an Iraqi base that housed a major weapons depot for the PMF. Another would be that the strikes were carried out by recently acquired US -made F-35 aircraft, according to a report Wednesday by the Middle East Institute.
It was one of a series of explosions in recent weeks at weapons depots, bases or positions belonging to factions within the PMF.
In September, Reuters reported that Iran had transferred ballistic missiles to Shi'ite proxies in Iraq over the course of several months, and that it is developing the capacity to build more there. It noted that Iraqi radar are not able to distinguish between coalition and other drones.