Iraq’s military and intelligence community believe Daesh (ISIS), not Kataib Hezbollah, was responsible for the December 27, 2019 rocket attack on an Iraqi base which ultimately led the US to assassinate Revolutionary Guard Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, the New York Times has reported, citing Iraqi military and intelligence sources.
“All indications are that it was Daesh,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Adnan, chief of intelligence for Iraqi Federal police at the K-1 base, told the newspaper. Adnan pointed to three incidents in the area in the week and a half before the December 27 attack, saying his forces were aware of Daesh movements in the area.
“We as Iraqi forces cannot even come to this area unless we have a large force because it is not secure. How could it be that someone who doesn’t know the area could come here and find that firing position and launch an attack?” Adnan asked, pointing out that the launch zone was situated in a Sunni Muslim area of Kirkuk where Daesh attacks are prevalent.
Brig. Gen. Amer Isa Hassan, chief of staff of the Iraqi side of the K-1 Air Base, told NYT that he didn’t buy the US claims blaming Khaitab Hezbollah. “The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab,” he said. “There is sympathy with Daesh there. Why do we resort to blaming Hezbollah or others?”
Iraqi intelligence warned US forces at K-1 about the danger of a possible attack on the base throughout November and December, including in a November 6 briefing indicating that Daesh was “endeavor[ing] to target K-1 base in Kirkuk by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets).” A similar report was delivered on December 25. Adnan said he warned the US again just hours before the December 27 rocket strike.
Col. Talib Madhloum al-Tamimi, an Iraqi Federal Police commander from the Kirkuk region, said he urged the US to fly a reconnaissance balloon over the base to prevent an attack from taking place, but that it was down for maintenance.
Source: Sputnik, NYT