Explosions at federal police arms depot in Baghdad

Interior ministry blames munitions blasts on summer heat and poor storage

This photo released by the government-affiliated Media Security Cell on Thursday, March 12, 2020, shows a rocket-rigged truck launcher after a rocket attack on Camp Taji, a few miles north of Baghdad, in Rashidiya,  A barrage of rockets hit a base housing U.S. and other coalition troops north of Baghdad, Iraqi security officials said Saturday, March 14, just days after a similar attack killed three servicemen, including two Americans. (Media Security Cell via AP)
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Two explosions hit a major security compound in south Baghdad on Sunday because of faulty storage of ammunition, the interior ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement that the explosions in the Saqr compound, which is used by the federal police and Iran-backed units of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) militia, was caused by “high temperatures and ill storage”.

The statement did not mention any casualties.

Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said 20 fire trucks were sent to the scene and “initial diagnosis showed that old ammunition stored in three containers had caught fire”.

The compound is located just south of the Dora expressway that rings the capital. It was one of several militia bases where mysterious explosions occurred in August last year.

The PMF blamed some of the explosions on Israeli attacks.

But PMF factions are also known for their mishandling of munitions, especially in the summer months.

Depots belonging to the PMF have exploded in the past due to extreme summer temperatures and careless storage.

Security sources said the explosions at the Saqr base last year killed one person and wounded 29.

In the most deadly incident, at least 20 people were killed in June 2018 by exploding munitions stored in a mosque in Sadr city, a Baghdad slum. No one was held accountable.