U.S. launches strikes on Iran-aligned groups in Iraq over drone attack

U.S. launches strikes on Iran-aligned groups in Iraq over drone attack

Shafaq News/ On Tuesday, the United States launched strikes on Iran-backed forces in Iraq after a drone attack that injured U.S. service members.

"Today, at @POTUS' direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary & proportionate strikes on 3 facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah & affiliated groups in Iraq. These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq & Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Erbil Air Base earlier today." U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said on X.

The White House also confirmed the targeting early this morning in northern Iraq, saying the attack wounded three U.S. service members, one critically.

A statement by the White House said that President Biden "directed strikes against three locations utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities."

"The President places no higher priority than protecting American personnel serving in harm's way. The United States will act at a time and in a manner of our choosing should these attacks continue." The White House said.

Security sources confirmed to Shafaq News Agency on Tuesday that American warplanes targeted the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Forces in the "Al-Jazaer" area of the city of Hilla in central Babel Governorate, wounding about 20 PMF fighters.

The U.S. operation came hours after Iraqi factions claimed responsibility for attacking U.S. forces at Harir base inside the Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, denounced the recent bombing of the "Harir Base," attributing the attack to "outlaw" groups.

Terming the incident both criminal and terrorist, Rasool pledged a thorough pursuit of legal action against the perpetrators, ensuring they would "face justice for their actions."

Kateib Hezbollah is a leading faction in the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella term used to describe all Iran-backed forces in Iraq.

Since the beginning of the Israeli aggression in Gaza, the group launched dozens of operations on U.S. interests, including the U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The group pointed out that its operations aim to "expel the American occupation" and to support "Palestinian brothers."

On the other hand, Washington accused Iran of "playing with fire" by directing the Axis of Resistance (including Iraqi factions, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Ansarallah of Yemen) to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accusations rejected by Tehran that confirmed on many occasions that the Axis takes decisions independently stressing that these factions "confront Israel for the crimes and genocidal actions against the Palestinian people."

Currently, the U.S. maintains 2,500 troops in Iraq under the Iraqi government's demand for training and advising.

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