U.S. Launches Strikes On Iran-backed Militants In Iraq After Attack

The U.S. military carried out strikes on three sites used by Iran-backed forces in Iraq on Dec. 25 after an attack wounded American personnel earlier that day, Austin has said.

The U.S. military has launched strikes on three installations in Iraq targeting what it said was a terrorist group backed by Iran that Washington has accused of a series of attacks on American personnel, including one Monday that left three people injured.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement late Monday.

In a separate statement, U.S. Central Command said “early assessments indicate that these U.S. airstrikes destroyed the targeted facilities and likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants.” Centcom added that there were no indications civilian lives were affected.

The Christmas Day strikes followed what the White House described as a drone attack on U.S. forces in northern Iraq that wounded three service members, including one critically. U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on that attack on Christmas morning and, in an afternoon call with Austin and other national security officials, ordered the retaliatory response.

The back-and-forth underscores the risk of the Israel-Hamas war widening into a broader conflagration. Iran said an Israeli air strike in Damascus on Monday killed a senior commander of its Revolutionary Guard.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has assembled a coalition of militaries willing to help protect Red Sea shipping lanes after a number of vessels came under attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels based in Yemen. Iran has denied that it is helping the rebels attack commercial ships.

Kataib Hezbollah is an Iraqi insurgent group backed by Iran that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. since 2009, according to the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. The insurgent group, also known as the Hezbollah Brigades, took credit for the attack on U.S. troops, the White House said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back on international criticism of the continuing war in Gaza, saying peace will only be possible when Hamas, which killed 1,200 people when it attacked Israel on Oct. 7, is destroyed. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says Israeli attacks have since killed more than 20,000 people.

In a column late Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Netanyahu also said Gaza needs to be demilitarized and Palestinian society “deradicalized.” He wrote that eliminating Hamas “is the only proportional response to prevent the repeat of such horrific atrocities.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from MouthpieceNGR

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading