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Iraq: American retaliatory attacks against Shiite militia


Mohammed Mohieh, spokesman for the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah, will speak to journalists in his office in December 2019.
Picture: dpa

American and British soldiers die in a missile attack in Iraq. The United States blames a pro-Iranian militia – and is now fighting back.

NAfter the fatal rocket attack on troops belonging to the American-led anti-IS coalition in Iraq, the United States carried out air strikes against a Shiite militia loyal to Iran. The Pentagon announced, The target of the “defensive precision strike” was five arms stores of the pro-Iranian militia Kataib Hezbollah. The militia is held responsible for the missile attack on the Taji base north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Two American soldiers and one British soldier were killed in the attack on the Taji base on Wednesday. Twelve soldiers were injured, according to the American-led alliance against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS).

Demand for Americans to withdraw

Kataib Hezbollah had praised the attack on Taji. The time for the resumption of jihad operations is appropriate to chase the “villains and aggressors” out of the country, a statement said. The Shiite militia is one of the strongest in Iraq and demands that American troops be withdrawn from the country.

Iraqi security forces said there were air strikes on targets in Babil and Najaf provinces. Shiite militias were bombed. Eyewitnesses reported violent explosions in Dscharf al Sukhr in Babil. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Twitter the US would not tolerate Iran-backed attacks against Americans and their allies.

Around 50 German soldiers are currently stationed in Taji. There were no injuries among them, said a spokesman for the operational command. The training has been suspended for a few days because the coronavirus is spreading in Iraq.

Militias linked to Iran

The Shiite militias have great influence in Iraq. Although they are officially under the command of the acting head of government and commander-in-chief Adel Abdel Mahdi, they operate largely independently.

The groups closely associated with Iran had threatened the United States with retaliation following the killing of Iranian general Quassem Soleimani in an attack in January. They had previously been held responsible for attacks on coalition forces. The head of Kataib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, was also killed in the attack on Soleimani.

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