Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-MalikiReuters

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned on Friday of a “strong response” if it is proven that Israel was behind recent air strikes in Iraq.

In statements issued by his office and quoted by The Associated Press, he also said that if Israel continues to target Iraq, the country “will transform into a battle arena that drags in multiple countries, including Iran.”

Maliki’s comments follow a series of air strikes targeting munitions storehouses belonging to the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.

The most recent attack took place this week and targeted an Iranian weapons depot in Baghdad.

On Thursday, two senior American officials told The New York Timesthat Israel was behind the air strikes.

A senior Middle Eastern intelligence official told the newspaper that Israel had bombed a base north of Baghdad on July 19.

The attack on July 19 struck a base that the Middle Eastern intelligence official said was being used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to transfer weapons to Syria.

The Israeli strike, which was launched from within Iraq, the official told The New York Times, destroyed a cargo of guided missiles with a range of 125 miles.

Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Russian languageChannel 9 that “Iran is trying to establish bases against us in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen. We are acting in many sectors against a country that aims to destroy us.”

During his visit to Ukraine this week, Netanyahu addressed the rumors that his country is behind the air strikes in Iraq.

“Iran has no immunity, anywhere. We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary,” he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)