Iraqi militia leader meets US defence secretary in Washington
Falih al-Fayyadh's visit comes a day after Iraq's prime minister directly blamed Israel for a series of airstrikes targeting Iranian-backed PMF forces in the country.
Al-Fayyadh is considered one of the more moderate voices in the PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, and has sought to rein in calls to target US interests in Iraq made by factions loyal to Iran.
According to a brief statement released by his office, Alfayyadh met Esper in the presence of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and discussed the relationship between the two countries.
Since mid-July, more than five PMF arms' depots and training camps have been targeted in apparent attacks.
The latest such incident took place Friday when unidentified aircraft launched airstrikes on PMF bases near Syria's border.
The PMF have repeatedly blamed Israel for raids by unmanned aircraft, but on Monday, for the first time, Iraq's prime minister also accused Israel of being behind the attacks.
"Investigations into the targeting of some Popular Mobilisation Forces positions indicate that Israel carried it out," Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military declined to comment on the Iraqi premier's remarks.
US and Middle East intelligence officials confirmed in August that a string of unclaimed attacks against the Shia militia bases in Iraq were carried out by Israel.
Israel has accused Tehran of attempting to establish a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria, and the strikes appear to correspondent with this alleged supply route.
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Iran has a strong military and militia presence in Iraq and Syria and backs Lebanese movement Hezbollah.
The Iraq Report: Shia militias look into air defences against Israel
The PMF was established in 2014 from mostly-Shia armed groups and volunteers to fight the Islamic State group and is now formally part of Iraq's armed forces.
But the US and Israel fear some units are an extension of their arch-foe Iran and have been equipped with precision-guided missiles that could reach Israel.
Agencies contributed to this report.