Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report

Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report
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Iranian forces have hidden ballistic missiles inside areas of Iraq controlled by Shiite militant groups, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Officials told The New York Times that Shiite militant groups that control roads, bridges and other infrastructure in areas of Iraq near the Iranian border are assisting with the concealment of a stash of ballistic missiles in Iraqi territory, further complicating the tense relationship between the U.S. and Tehran.

The missiles are believed to be the first reported arsenal in Iraq since Israeli forces destroyed a similar cache last year, according to the Times. Iranian officials did not respond to the Times's request for comment.

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“People are not paying enough attention to the fact that ballistic missiles in the last year have been placed in Iraq by Iran with the ability to project violence on the region,” Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinIran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report Democrats debate scope of impeachment charges Democrats hit gas on impeachment MORE (D-Mich.) told the newspaper.

"Unfortunately, due to the chaos and confusion in the Iraqi central government, Iran is paradoxically the best poised to take advantage of the grass-roots unrest [occurring in Iraq]," Slotkin continued, referring to weeks of protests in Iraq that have resulted in the resignation of the country's prime minister.

Iranian forces and the U.S. have been on the brink of conflict for months because of a series of incidents, including the downing of a U.S. spy drone and attacks on oil tankers in the region, while Tehran has refused all dialogue with the Trump administration.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE revealed on Twitter earlier this year that he had ordered a military strike on Iran in response to the downing of the spy drone but called the strike off to avoid unnecessary casualties.