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Iraqi militants confirmed to have Iranian cruise missiles

The cruise missile that failed to launch on 3 January. (US Central Command)

US Central Command (CENTCOM) effectively confirmed that Iran has supplied cruise missiles to an Iraqi group on 5 January, when it posted a photograph of one it said had been found by the Iraqi Police in Babil Governorate two days earlier.

β€œThe use of Iranian-supplied munitions by terrorist groups within Iraq and Syria endangers coalition forces and local residents,” it said. β€œThe coalition is appreciative of the efforts of the legitimate security forces in Iraq for their efforts to prevent future attacks.”

The photograph showed the same type of cruise missile that the Iranian-backed Yemeni group refers to as the Quds and was displayed for the first time in Iran last year as the Paveh.

The missile had fallen off the rail on a mobile launcher that had been prepared for a launch. Its booster could not be seen and may have exploded, as there was damage at the rear of the missile and the launcher. CENTCOM said the missile had failed to launch.

The CENTCOM announcement dovetailed with a 3 January statement from the Babil Governorate Police Command saying a drone aircraft had been found by the counter-terrorism team on the international road in the Al-Mahawil area north of Al-Hillah and had been destroyed in place by an explosive ordnance disposal team.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI), a coalition of Iranian-backed groups, released a video on 8 January showing what it said was a long-range Al-Arqab cruise missile being launched at Haifa. There was no corresponding report of an attack on the Israeli port city, which is about 875 km from Al-Mahawil.

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