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BREAKING NEWS

Blasts hit militia group position at Iraq's Balad air base - security sources

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TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) – Several blasts hit a position held by Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitaries next to Balad air base north of Baghdad on Tuesday, an Iraqi military official and a source in a paramilitary group said.

Balad base hosts U.S. forces and contractors and is located about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad. An Iraqi Shi’ite militia group, which is backed by Iran, is stationed nearby.

The military official said the intended target of the blasts was the militia’s position near the base. The paramilitary source said his group’s weapons depot was specifically targeted by an aerial bombardment.

The U.S.-led coalition could not immediately be reached for comment. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Witnesses said the explosions caused stored rockets to fly into nearby orchards and into Balad base itself.

(Reporting by Ghazwan Hassan with additional reporting by John Davison; Editing by James Drummond)

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