Air strikes reportedly targeted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) forces at Suwayyah and Hiri, near Abukamal at the Iraq-Syria border late Saturday night.
There are unconfirmed reports of several dead and others wounded after missiles struck an Iraqi PMU militia base in Syria.
Missiles also reportedly targeted a base belonging to the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia near Abukamal, in eastern Syria. The strike was aimed at warehouses filled with Iranian-made short and medium-range missiles in the Al-Qaim region, near the Iraq-Syria border.
Earlier in the evening, CNN quoted an unnamed US official who said the US is seeing indications Iran had stepped up its readiness to launch short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. An assault was definitely expected “within weeks” at most, the source said.
The local sources who reported on the attack in Abukamal claimed the strikes were carried out by two Israeli Air Force F-35 Adir Stealth fighter jets, but as yet there is no confirmation.
The sources told defense analyst and news correspondent Babak Taghvaee the aircraft targeted several launchers “which were going to be used to launch missiles at the Golan Heights tomorrow night!”
#BREAKING: The airstrike targeting #IRGC & #PMU at Suwayyah & Hiri near #AbuKamal, #Syria–#Iraq border is carried-out by 2 F-35Is of #Israel Air Force. According to my source, they targeted several launchers which were going to launch missiles at #GolanHeights tomorrow night! pic.twitter.com/CdNCdULd0g
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 4, 2020
According to Al Hadath, the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) Iranian-backed militia in Iraq also lost fighters in the air strike, although it is not yet clear how many were killed and how many were wounded in the bombing of their headquarters on the Iraq-Syria border.
#العراق — مراسل الحدث: قتلى وجرحى من عناصر الميليشيات في قصف على مقر قرب الحدود السورية العراقية
— الحدث (@AlHadath) January 4, 2020
There were also unconfirmed reports that Iranian-backed militia groups were evacuating bases as far north in Syria as Aleppo. In addition, local sources in Iraq claimed they had seen US B-52 bombers flying overhead.
The Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia had asked Iraqi military personnel to remain at a minimum distance of one kilometer from US personnel stationed in Iraq, beginning from this Sunday evening local time.
Earlier in the evening, six mortar shells exploded on the Nineveh Operations Command Headquarters at the presidential palace in Mosul, northern Iraq – host to American forces.
Six rockets also struck the former presidential palace in Baghdad as well, where US forces are also being hosted. Iranian-backed militias launched attacks on Saturday at the US Embassy and Al Jadirya district in Baghdad, as well as at the Joint Base Balad / Balad Air Base, home to US troops, in Baghdad, and the Al-Kindi Camp in Mosul as well.
Numerous US combat aircraft and helicopters continue to fly over Iraqi air space.