An Iran-backed Shiite militia in Iraq has threatened to increase attacks on the US interests in the country and the region, as the Israel-Gaza war shows no sign of abating. Days after Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 people in Israel on October 7, Iraqi Shiite militias resumed attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria.
Dozens of drone and missile attacks have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a network of Iran-allied groups, due to Washington’s support for Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Among the targets were the Ain Al Asad base in Anbar province, a military base near Baghdad’s international airport and Harir airbase in the northern city of Erbil. Attacks have also been launched against US bases in Syria, with militias also recently claiming responsibility for hitting Israeli targets in the Dead Sea region.
“After the military escalation by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, it will work to shut down the American interests in Iraq and disable them in the region,” Abu Ali Al Askari, a senior security official in Kataib Hezbollah, said on Sunday.
“The closure of the US embassy in Iraq and preventing the American citizens from entering the country will be achieved through our non-peaceful means.”
Kataib Hezbollah has in the past launched hundreds of attacks against US forces, following the American-led invasion of Iraq, pausing briefly during the war against ISIS. The militia resumed its attacks in 2018, after the defeat of ISIS in Mosul.
There has been a lull in attacks on US forces in Iraq, still in the country as part of the international coalition to defeat ISIS, since Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani took office last October.
Mr Al Sudani was nominated by the Co-ordination Framework, the largest political group in parliament and that comprises powerful Iran-backed militias and political parties. The government has been under pressure from Washington and its allies to rein in the militias and protect US forces and foreign diplomatic missions.
Mr Al Sudani denounced the attacks and ordered Iraq’s security forces to tackle rogue militias linked to Iran. The US military has since Friday been carrying our air strikes in Syria, saying the sites were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies.
The US has about 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq as part of efforts to combat ISIS, which once held a large amount of territory in each country. Israeli attacks have killed more than 9,000 people in Gaza, most of them civilians, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry.
Source: The National News