camp kalsu calso drone strike
© XTwo security sources from Iraq 's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said the blast was a result of an airstrike, which happened around midnight Friday, April 19, 2024
Overnight explosions at an Iraqi military base not far from the capital Baghdad on Saturday left one person dead and at least eight others with degrees of injuries, officials said.

The explosions occurred around 1 a.m. local time Saturday, killing and injuring members of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, the Popular Mobilization Forces.

"An explosion and fire occurred inside (Camp Kalsu) north of Babil Governorate on the international line, which includes the headquarters of the army, police, and Popular Mobilization Forces," Iraq's Security Media Cell said on X.

"A specialized higher technical committee from civil defense and other relevant groups was formed to determine the causes of the explosion and fires at the site and surroundings of the accident area."

camp kalsu calso iraq us base army
© Capt. Michael Lovas/U.S. ArmyIraq's Camp Kalsu, shown here in 2011 while it was still a U.S. military forward operating base, was rocked by a series of explosions overnight Saturday in which one person was killed and eight injured.
The United States said it was involved in the explosions despite claims to the contrary.

In a post on X, U.S. Central Command denied it had launched air strikes on Camp Kalsu, a joint military base 20 miles south of Baghdad that previously served as a forward operating American military base.

"We are aware of reports claiming that the United States conducted airstrikes in Iraq today," CENTCOM said. "Those reports are not true. The United States has not conducted air strikes in Iraq today."

Iraqi officials also acknowledged officials that the U.S. military was not involved.

"Two statements were issued by the international coalition forces in Iraq and the official spokesman for the Pentagon indicating that there is no air activity or military action throughout Babylon, while the Air Defense Command report confirmed, through technical efforts and radar detection, that there is no drone or fighter plane in the airspace of Babylon before and during the explosion," the government said.

The base was an U.S. military joint forces base until 2011 when it was handed over to the Iraqi military.

Iraq has said it wants American and other Western military forces out of the country after U.S. forces in January carried out a drone strike in Baghdad that killed the leader of an Iranian proxy group.

The operation drew prompt condemnation from Iraq, which later called it "a clear aggression and violation of Iraqi sovereignty."

Saturday's explosions came after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani visited Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. President Joe Biden.

The two leaders discussed the future of the 2,500 U.S. troops stationed there amid renewed ISIS threats and growing tensions in the Middle East.