Iraq’s Iran-backed militias to resume attacks on US troops in region: Statement

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq suggested they would resume attacks on US troops in the country and across the region in a statement released Friday.

The statement comes days after the US military carried out a drone strike that killed a senior Katai’ib Hezbollah commander.

US officials said Abu Baqir al-Saadi, who was killed, was “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region.”

The statement said that the US violated so-called rules of engagement when it killed the Katai’ib Hezbollah commander. “The occupying enemy forces… only understand the language of weapons,” the Islamic Resistance quipped.

They said “painful strikes” and “wide-ranging attacks” would be carried out in their efforts to push out US troops from Iraq.

A US official said al-Saadi was the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah in Syria. Separately, a US defense official told Al Arabiya English that President Joe Biden had authorized the strike “early last week” after he was given options by the Pentagon to retaliate for the drone strike on Tower 22 in Jordan.

Baghdad immediately condemned the US strike and claimed that civilian lives were disregarded. No civilians were reported killed. “We carefully select targets and timing to avoid any loss of innocent life,” the US defense official said.

The official also reiterated previous comments by US officials urging the Iraqi government to rein in the Iran-backed militias.

Washington and Baghdad will restart talks this weekend on the future of the US-led coalition to defeat ISIS, both countries said on Thursday.

Pro-Iran Iraqi lawmakers are calling for an immediate end to foreign troop presence in the country. Iran-backed militias have openly stated their intent to eject US forces from the country as well.

These calls escalated following last month’s US operation that wiped out another Iran-backed Iraqi militia official.

But after the Tower 22 attack and following US warnings that it would respond, Kata’ib Hezbollah said they were suspending attacks on Americans to give the Iraqi government a chance to negotiate the end of US troop presence in the country.

The US said there would be a multi-tiered response following the Jordan attack and the over 160 attacks on US forces in Iraq, Syria and Jordan since Oct. 17.

Asked if the Wednesday strike was the last of the “multi-tiered” response, the US defense official said: “The President was clear: We would do whatever we can to protect our people.”

Related Articles

Back to top button