Unidentified drone strike targets Iranian fuel convoy in Syria -Iraqi sources

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) -At least two fuel trucks were destroyed in an air strike by an unidentified drone on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq late on Tuesday, Iraqi security and border officials told Reuters.

The strike was carried out by a drone and targeted a tanker truck convoy carrying Iranian fuel that had entered Qaim border crossing into Syria, the officials said.

"No Iraqi casualties have been reported", said an Iraqi border police officer.

A huge blaze was seen on the Syrian side of the border, said a security official. The convoy included more than 20 tanker trucks.

Iran's state-run Press TV channel confirmed the attack and accused the United States of carrying it out, saying “a convoy of 22 tankers carrying fuel to Lebanon crossing from Iraq to Syria was attacked by U.S. drones" at the Syrian town of Albukamal.

The convoy crossed the borders into Syria after obtaining “all necessary legal approvals from Iraq” and according to the transportation documents the Iranian fuel was heading to Lebanon through Syria, said two border police officials.

The officials were unaware of any Iranian casualties.

The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was not behind the strike, nor had any involvement.

An Iraq local commander with the paramilitary groups known collectively as Hashid Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), denied that any of the groups' fighters deployed near the Syrian borders were killed or wounded.

"Our fighters are deployed along the border line and not inside the Syrian sided where the strike happened. We were not targeted," said Ali Abulhassan al-Yasiri.

A regional official aligned with Iran said two Syrian nationals were killed in the strike and the fuel was heading to Syria, not Lebanon.

For several years, Israel has been mounting attacks on what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad and Laila Bassam in Beirut; Additional reporting by Dubai newsroomEditing by Tomasz Janowski and Andrea Ricci)