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Iraqi Vice-President warns Israel of “strong response” to airstrikes

Maliki issued a warning to Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2019

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Iraqi Vice-President and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned Israel that it would face a “strong response” if it was found to be responsible for recent airstrikes in Iraq.

Iraqi Vice-President Nouri al-Maliki is warning of a "strong response" if it is proven that Israel was behind recent airstrikes in Iraq.

In statements issued by his office on Friday, he warned if Israel continues to target Iraq, the country "will transform into a battle arena that drags in multiple countries, including Iran."

The comments by al-Maliki, who was Iraqi prime minister for eight years, came hours after US officials said that Israel was responsible for the bombing of weapons depot belonging to Iran-backed militias in Iraq last month.

There have been at least three explosions at bases belonging to Iranian-sponsored Iraqi militias in recent weeks. They are believed to have been caused by Israeli airstrikes and the US today confirmed that Israel was responsible for at least one of them.

The strikes mark a significant escalation in Israel's years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region, which previously focused on Iranian bases in Syria.

Last week Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi imposed restrictions on the flight of foreign military aircraft over Iraq and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition said it would comply.

Maliki is one of three vice-presidents of Iraq and also heads the State of Law Coalition, which has 25 seats in the Iraqi parliament.

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